A team of medical scientists from China has found that the number of people in the United States with “metabolically healthy obesity” (MHO) has increased over the past 20 years.
In their study, which was published on the JAMA Network Open site, the group analyzed data from the NHANES survey.
This survey is conducted by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics to gather information on the health and well-being of the American people.
Previous research has shown that some people diagnosed with obesity do not have any of the health issues usually associated with being overweight.
These people are classified as having MHO and do not need to worry about losing weight.
The new study found that the proportion of such people in the U.S. compared to the general population increased between 1999 and 2018.
The researchers found that the ratio of people with MHO had almost doubled over the years analyzed in the survey.
However, they note that people with MHO still make up a small percentage of people with obesity.
They also pointed out that using the standard body mass index (BMI) is not always an accurate way to gauge obesity.
Some individuals score high on BMI due to having a larger-than-average bone structure or more muscle.
The researchers suggest that clinicians begin using other methods for diagnosing obesity, such as measuring both waist and hip circumference in addition to height and weight, to avoid misdiagnosis.
The researchers defined MHO as having a BMI of at least 30 kg/m2 and no evidence of high blood pressure, high fasting glucose levels, or changes in lipids.
Their analysis involved looking at data from 20,430 people who had filled out a survey, including 7,386 people diagnosed as being obese.
Over the period studied, the prevalence of obesity increased from 28.6% to 40.9%, while the rate of increase of people with MHO rose from 3.2% to 6.6%.
This study suggests that clinicians should use more accurate methods for diagnosing obesity and take into account other factors besides BMI.
It also shows that more people in the U.S. have MHO than previously thought, which may have implications for healthcare policy and individual health management.
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The study was conducted by Jiang-Shui Wang et al.
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