Hello My Friends.
Welcome to The Vitality Project!
There have been many, many occasions where various people have suggested that, although they are considered obese or overweight (as calculated by BMI) they have no measurable risk factors for disease and are deemed to be considered healthy. These same people, including health professionals who have stated this have placed a brand new spin on what it is like to be “labelled” overweight or obese.
Interestingly, there subsequently has developed a certain sense of security around this new type of new health category, one which is immune to shaming and one which looks at people and their health status in a completely different light. One which does not allow an individual to be thrown into a certain high-risk category without an adequate degree of evidence.
I would be ok with this if this was factual…it’s clearly not!
My job as a health care professional is to disseminate evidenced-based information to people in a manner which serves their best interest. This is a very good case in point of a situation that falls well-short of this outcome.
Now, although there has been some studies (not very good ones) indicating that certain folks are considered obese or overweight can be otherwise metabolically healthy because their blood pressure, blood sugar and blood fats which are within normal limits. These findings have also given the mistaken impression that this same group of people have no increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease later in life.
Unfortunately, the research that this misguided advice was gleaned was poorly done. The subjects were younger, there was no control group, they were poorly controlled and the follow-up was not of sufficient duration to be meaningful.
The latest study looking at this same question used over 500,000 people from the ages of 35-70 including subjects residing in ten different countries. The average follow-up was 20 years and the incidence of coronary artery disease was tracked in this large group of subjects. The subjects were placed into three groups based upon their BMI (normal, overweight, obese) and they were also classified upon their level of metabolic health (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood fats, waist circumference). A control group of over 10,000 people (metabolically health) were also used as a comparison to the study subjects.
The results clearly indicated that those subjects that were considered metabolically unhealthy (three or more health risks) despite their weight were more than 50% more likely to develop coronary heart disease compared with those folks who were metabolically healthy.
This finding should be no surprise to anyone!
In addition, the researchers also found that those folks who were overweight or obese and metabolically healthy had a 26 & 28% respectfully chance of developing coronary artery disease compared to those that were also metabolically healthy but fell within the normal weight category.
Now that you may find interesting!!
What does this tell us really?
Added weight is an important and independent risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease which happens to be the leading cause of death globally.
You may be told you are healthy despite what the scale indicates…but I can almost assure you that if you carry extra weight with you and you have a family history of heart attack, diabetes or stroke…beware because one way or another, it will catch up to you.
Here is a much better way to determine your own risk of a future heart attack.
What is your waist circumference? If it’s over 37 inches in females and 40 inches in males, you can state with a decent degree of medical certainty that you have insulin resistance even though your blood sugar is within normal limits. Although the degree of insulin resistance can be accurately measured…it rarely is.
What is your resting AM blood pressure taken at 3-4 different days before rising from bed? If it’s high-normal…you have a problem as this measurement can tell you a great deal about your arteries and how hard your heart has to work.
What is your resting heart rate? (measured the same manner as your BP) If it’s high or higher than it should be…you may also have another problem. Your resting heart rate is an accurate measurement of your relative fitness level and cardiac function.
South of the border, more that two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, one-third of children and teens are also classified as such. Up here is the great Canadian north, it’s a bit better but not much as we are closing in on these numbers…fast!
Here are some hard data for you to consider.
My waist circumference: 30 inches.
My resting blood pressure: 105/68.
My resting heart rate: 50-55 BPM.
My age: 60.
It’s not rocket science or genetics…it’s really just old school hard work and discipline!
Dr. Kevin J. McLaughlin
The Vitality Project