'What was new from this study for me is that it showed that people who were overweight or obese were at increased risk of heart disease even though they may have been healthy in every other respect.
'The idea of being healthily obese is a myth and there is much that health professionals and people who are obese can do to reduce their risk of disease'.
While most obese people have an increased risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes compared to those of a normal weight, experts had picked up on the fact that some seem to buck that trend and remain healthy.
But Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, claimed the research ignored other recent studies suggesting there is a genetic explanation for why some people can carry extra fat but appear not to suffer ill health.
While it might spare feelings in an era where people are more conscious than ever about body shaming, the idea that people can be "fat but fit" is nothing more than a myth, according to the authors of a new study presented earlier this week at a health conference in Portugal.More news: "WannaCry" ransomware attack losses could reach $4 billion
Several studies in the past have suggested that the idea of "metabolically healthy" obese individuals is an illusion, but they have been smaller than this one.
The researchers from the University of Birmingham in the U.K used linked electronic medical records from 1995 through 2015 in The Health Improvement Network (THIN), which is a large United Kingdom database of general practice records.
Study author Dr Rishi Caleyachetty, from the Institute of Applied Health Research at the University of Birmingham, said: "This is the largest prospective study of the association between metabolically health obesity and cardiovascular disease events".
The study found "fat but fit" people had a 50 percent chance of suffering from heart disease and a 7 percent higher chance of having a stroke, HealthDay reported. But, it's been unclear if they are at increased risk for problems such as heart failure or stroke.
These figures held true even when factors such as whether people smoked were taken into account.More news: Derby Winner Always Dreaming Gallops Smoothly for Preakness
'Metabolically healthy obesity is not a harmless condition, and it would be incorrect to think so. They found that metabolically healthy obese individuals had a 9 percent lower risk of peripheral vascular disease (PVD), but when they analyzed the numbers further and excluded cigarette smokers, healthy obese people had an 11 percent increased the risk of developing PVD.
He continued: "The priority of health professionals should be to promote and facilitate weight loss among obese persons, regardless of the presence or absence of metabolic abnormalities".
According to the British Heart Foundation, the normal heart health advice applies - not smoking, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and limiting alcohol intake - can all help keep people healthy.
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