In the for fuck’s sake column goes a study out of Korea.
The researchers took 14,828 adults, ages 30 to 59, some fat and some not, but all metabolically healthy and with no known cardiovascular disease.
The participants underwent a health checkup, including cardiac tomography estimation of coronary artery calcium (atherosclerosis) .
As usual, I only have access to the abstract. But it seems everything is based on this one exam. No follow-up.
They found the fat folks tend to have more plaque build-up in their coronary arteries. However, that build-up remained “subclinical” – i.e. still within “normal” ranges.
So what is the conclusion?
MHO (metabolically healthy obese) had a higher prevalence of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis compared to metabolically healthy normal weight participants, supporting that MHO is not a harmless condition. This association, however, was mediated by metabolic risk factors at levels below those considered abnormal, suggesting that the label of metabolically healthy for obese subjects may be an artifact of the cut-off levels used in the definition of metabolic health.
So because a fat person has a little more (but still within the “normal” range) plaque buildup, this means that all your other numbers showing you are metabolically healthy mean nothing.
In fact, according to these researchers, the real problem is that our current definitions of metabolic health must be too high if fat people are able to achieve those numbers.
The study was on people living in Korea, so presumably mostly if not all of the participants were Korean. So the results are pretty much limited to the average person living in Korea. By the way, South Korea has the lowest obesity rate among the member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. According to the findings, South Koreans were less obese than Japanese, but their overweight rate was higher than that of Japanese. (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2009/05/113_42993.html) So an obese person in South Korea is kind of unusual.
This is a pretty specific group of people. Makes me wonder how the findings translate to others.
There was no follow-up to show that a subclinical level of coronary atherosclerosis in fat people will lead to anything. They can’t even tell if this is a risk for heart disease or stroke. Much less whether fat people may naturally have these levels without any negative effect (as is the case in other conditions considered to part of the “obesity paradox”).
As if the researchers’ conclusions weren’t biased enough, take a look at an article written based on this study:
What an incredible load of stupid, and blatant fat bigotry.