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Metabolic health in normal-weight and obese individuals – published online 19/12/2018

Fig 1 from Schulze paper

Matthias B. Schulze

Cardiovascular complications are commonly associated with obesity. However, a subgroup of obese individuals may not be at an increased risk for cardiovascular complications and evidence suggests that it might be possible to define this subgroup. In this issue, Matthias Schulze (https://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-018-4787-8) summarises recent evidence from prospective cohort studies that investigated long-term risk for subgroups defined according to the ‘metabolic health’ concept across different BMI groups. Comparison of metabolically healthy obese individuals with normal-weight individuals suggests an increased risk for cardiovascular complications; this is, however, substantially lower than that for metabolically unhealthy individuals. Investigation of the long-term stability of metabolic health has revealed that the metabolically healthy phenotype is a transient one for most. The use of repeated measures and the investigation of body-fat distribution patterns in cohorts promises to clarify the long-term relevance of the metabolic health concept and to point towards alternative anthropometric measures for clinical use. The figures from this review are available as a downloadable slideset.

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