19 August 2016
New research has indicated that previous assumptions that it is possible to be obese while remaining otherwise healthy may not be accurate.
The Karolinska Institutet study provided evidence that white fat tissue samples from obese individuals classified as either metabolically healthy or unhealthy showed nearly identical abnormal changes in gene expression in response to insulin stimulation.
Recent estimates suggest that up to 30 per cent of obese individuals are metabolically healthy and therefore may need less vigorous interventions to prevent obesity-related complications. High sensitivity to insulin which promotes the uptake of blood glucose into cells to be used for energy, is considered a hallmark of metabolically healthy obesity.
However, this new research casts fresh doubt on whether any such thing exists, indicating that insulin-sensitive obese people may not be as metabolically healthy as previously believed.
Mikael Ryden of the Karolinska Institutet said: "The findings suggest that vigorous health interventions may be necessary for all obese individuals, even those previously considered to be metabolically healthy."
Researchers will now examine the outcomes of these patients following bariatric surgery to determine whether weight loss normalises their responses to insulin.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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