Obesity carries a steep financial cost
“Fit but fat” doesn’t carry weight with these researchers.
Researchers from the University of Birmingham have found that people who are obese have a higher risk of stroke, heart disease and heart failure — even when they don’t have traditional warning signs of such things like high blood pressure or diabetes. The study examined 3.5 million subjects, 61,000 of whom got heart disease, from 1995 to 2015.
These findings fly in the face of the notion that you can be fat but still medically fit, or the idea that the extra weight won’t hurt you if you’re metabolically healthy. “This is the largest prospective study of the association between metabolically health obesity and cardiovascular disease events. Metabolically healthy obese individuals are at higher risk of coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and heart failure than normal weight metabolically healthy individuals,” Rishi Caleyachetty, one of the study authors, says.
It’s important to point out that at least one other study has shown that it may be possible to be “fat but fit.” And just because you are obese doesn’t mean you will necessarily get heart disease or other health issues.
This study comes at a time when obesity rates are higher than ever: More than one third of U.S. adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And though some states are slimmer than others, there is not a single state in America that has obesity rates less than 20% among adults.
Obesity comes not just with a health cost, but also with a financial one. Obese people face medical costs that are $1,429 higher each year than those who are normal weight.
What’s more, there are a number of indirect costs as well. Overweight people tend to earn less in their careers than those who are normal weight — a problem that is even worse for women. Another study found that roughly half of employers were “unlikely” to hire someone who is overweight.
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