“Fat but fit” still face higher heart disease risk

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People who carry excess weight but have normal blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol values are sometimes dubbed "fat but fit." But they're still more likely to develop heart disease than people who aren't overweight, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed more than 7,600 cases of heart disease that occurred over a 12-year period in 10 European countries. They also used data from 10,000 healthy people without heart disease as a comparison group. Compared with people at a healthy weight, those who were overweight or obese had up to a 28% higher risk of developing heart disease.

This was true even for people who did not have any metabolic markers suggesting a heightened heart risk, such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, or elevated cholesterol or triglycerides. The findings were published online Aug. 14, 2017, by the European Heart Journal.

Experts say the results underscore the importance of striving for a healthy weight even if you have no other cardiovascular risk factors.