Unstable control groups may create ‘healthy obesity’ impression
medwireNews: Research suggests that unaccounted changes in the health and weight of control groups over time may partly account for the apparently benign effects of being obese but metabolically healthy.
“Previous studies may have underestimated the detrimental effects of ‘healthy obesity’ by obscuring the benefits of remaining never obese without metabolic risk factors,” write Mark Hamer (Loughborough University, UK) and study co-authors in the European Journal of Endocrinology.
Using data from 5427 participants in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, the researchers found, in line with some other studies, that obese participants with fewer than two metabolic abnormalities had no greater mortality risk than healthy non-obese people during 8 years of follow-up.
This, however, was based on data from just the 2004–2005 study assessment. When the team included data from the 2008–2009 assessment and based the healthy control group only on people who had remained non-obese and metabolically healthy at both assessments (65.8% of the original control group), the healthy obese participants had a 2.67-fold increased mortality risk. This remained significant after accounting for factors including age, gender, wealth, and chronic illness.
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