Harvard Health Letter

News briefs: Philosophy shift on the risks of being overweight

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Surprising findings from a study in Denmark: researchers say that being overweight puts you at risk for heart attack and heart disease, regardless of whether you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. Those conditions in combination are known as metabolic syndrome, and it's a common belief that people who are overweight but still metabolically healthy don't face additional health risks. But the study, published Nov. 11, 2013, in JAMA Internal Medicine, changes that thinking. "Maintaining a healthy body weight is of paramount importance to reduce the risk of getting diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Overweight individuals without apparent metabolic problems may simply be in the early stages of disease development," says Dr. Chandra Jackson of the Harvard
School of Public Health.