(HealthDay News) — “Metabolically healthy obesity” (MHO) is associated with an increased risk for obesity-related outcomes, including incident diabetes, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), and heart failure compared with metabolically healthy individuals without obesity, according to a study published online in Diabetologia.

Ziyi Zhou, from the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a population-based prospective cohort study of 381,363 UK Biobank participants with a median follow-up of 11.2 years to examine the associations between MHO and a range of obesity-related outcomes.

The researchers found that individuals with MHO had higher incident heart failure and respiratory disease rates compared with people who were not obese at baseline (hazard ratios, 1.60 and 1.20, respectively), but they did not have higher ASCVD rates. For fatal outcomes, the associations of MHO were generally weaker and were only significant for all-cause and heart failure mortality rates (hazard ratio, 1.12 and 1.44, respectively). When compared with those who were metabolically healthy without obesity, participants with MHO had higher rates of incident diabetes, ASCVD, heart failure, respiratory diseases, and all-cause mortality compared (hazard ratios, 4.32, 1.18, 1.76, 1.28, and 1.22, respectively). With a 5-year landmark analysis, the results were similar.

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“Weight management could be beneficial to all people with obesity irrespective of metabolic profile,” the authors write. “We suggest the term ‘MHO’ should be avoided in clinical medicine as it is misleading, and different strategies for risk stratification should be explored.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text