Metabolically healthy obesity and ischemic heart disease: a 10-year follow-up of the Inter99 study

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Louise Hansen, Marie K. Netterstrøm, Nanna B Johansen, Pernille F. Rønn, Dorte Vistisen, Lise L. N. Husemoen, Marit E. Jørgensen, Naja H. Rod, Kristine Færch

Context: Recent studies have suggested that a subgroup of obese individuals is not at increased risk of obesity-related complications. This subgroup has been referred to as metabolically healthy obese.
Objective: To investigate whether obesity is a risk factor for development of ischemic heart disease (IHD) irrespective of metabolic health.
Design: In all, 6238 men and women from the Danish prospective Inter99 study were followed during 10.6 (standard deviation = 1.7) years.
Setting: General community.
Participants: Participants were classified according to body mass index and four metabolic risk factors (low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, triglycerides, and fasting plasma glucose). Metabolically healthy individuals were defined as having no metabolic risk factors, and metabolically unhealthy individuals were defined as having a minimum of one.
Main Outcome Measures: IHD.
Results: During follow-up, 323 participants developed IHD. Metabolically healthy obese men had increased risk of IHD compared with metabolically healthy normal-weight men [hazard ratio (HR), 3.1; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.1 to 8.2)]. The corresponding results for women were less pronounced (HR, 1.8; 95% CI, 0.7 to 4.8). Being metabolically healthy but overweight was not associated with higher risk of IHD in men (HR, 1.1; 95% CI, 0.5 to 2.4), and in women the risk was only slightly increased and insignificant (HR, 1.5; 95% CI, 0.8 to 3.0). A substantial proportion of metabolically healthy individuals became metabolically unhealthy after 5 years of follow-up. When these changes in exposure status were taken into account, slightly higher risk estimates were found.
Conclusions: Being obese is associated with higher incidence of IHD irrespective of metabolic status, and we question the feasibility of denoting a subgroup of obese individuals as metabolically healthy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Volume102
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1934-1942
Number of pages9
ISSN0021-972X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

ID: 178702681