The Obesity Paradox: Can Body Fat Ever Benefit You?

When it pertains to a medical agreement on body fat here's what we know: There isn't one. The research study is clashing, interpreting the results can be confusing and even leading specialists disagree about whether you can be healthy at any size.

More than one third of U.S. grownups are overweight. And being overweight or obese can put individuals at a higher risk for other health problems like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Yet, in the last years or so, there's increasing data recommending body fat may, in some cases, impart a type of protective benefit. This has actually caused what's referred to as the "obesity paradox"-- the reality that reasonably obese people with persistent illness are often outliving normal-weight people with the very same health concerns.

The most current example is a study published today in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. In the research study, researchers took a look at over 10,500 clients with type 2 diabetes who were followed for around 10 years. They discovered that obese or overweight people in the research study had a greater rate of heart events like cardiac arrest compared to people who were a regular weight. Nevertheless, individuals who were overweight-- but not overweight-- lived longer than the people who were of typical weight or underweight. In fact individuals who were underweight had the worst prognosis, the researchers showed.

" The explanation for these results is unidentified and does not indicate that clients with diabetes need to attempt to become overweight," the editors of Annals write. "Patients should continue to follow a healthy way of life."

That does not address the question of why heavier individuals fared better by some steps, however-- a concern that has actually been afflicting scientists for more than a years. Some researchers say they've had trouble getting their preliminary findings released in medical journals since it raises a lot of challenging questions. And for typical joes, this emerging body of evidence continues to confuse.

Can Fat Help the Heart?

The latest research study does not challenge the reality that being overweight puts individuals at risk for heart problems. However how can it be that the very factors that put people at risk for heart problem could likewise include years to their life?

In a 2014 study, a team of researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 36 studies and found that a that low BMI in thousands of clients with coronary artery disease who went through surgery was related to as much as a 2.7-fold greater danger of cardiac arrest and heart-related death over a follow up duration of near to two years. But obese and overweight patients had much better outcomes and heart-related death risk was most affordable amongst overweight clients with a high BMI compared to individuals with a typical BMI.