A study published in The European Heart Journal on Monday finds that being overweight increases one’s risk of coronary heart disease, even if the individual is otherwise considered healthy, casting doubt on the common belief that a person can be fat but fit.
“Our findings suggest that if a patient is overweight or obese, all efforts should be made to help them get back to a healthy weight, regardless of other factors. Even if their blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol appear within the normal range, excess weight is still a risk factor,” Dr. Camille Lassale, the lead author of the study, said in a statement to Imperial College London announcing the findings.
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Researchers analyzed thousands of cases of coronary heart disease over more than 12 years in 10 countries in Europe. They found that being overweight or obese was associated with a more than 25 percent higher risk of developing coronary heart disease than being at a healthy weight, even among those who did not have any other markers that reflected an increased risk of heart disease.
Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News’ chief medical correspondent, said the research shows that even if people appear healthy based on blood tests today, the risk of health complications can increase over time if they are obese.