Predicting the development of the metabolically healthy obese phenotype

I. Achilike, H. P. Hazuda, S. P. Fowler, K. Aung, C. Lorenzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The metabolically healthy (MHO) and unhealthy obese (MUHO) differ in terms of cardiovascular risk. However, little is known about predicting the development of these phenotypes and the future stability of the MHO phenotype. Therefore, we examined these two issues in the San Antonio Heart Study. DESIGN: Longitudinal, population-based study of cardiometabolic risk factors among Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites in San Antonio. SUBJECTS: The study sample included 2368 participants with neither MUHO nor diabetes at baseline. Median follow-up was 7.8 years. MHO was defined as obesity with ≤ 1 metabolic abnormality; MUHO, as obesity with ≥ 2 abnormalities. RESULTS: At baseline, 1595 and 498 individuals were non-obese with ≤ 1 and ≥ 2 metabolic abnormalities, respectively, and 275 were MHO. Among non-obese individuals, independent predictors of incident MHO (odds ratio (OR) for 1 s.d. change (95% confidence interval)) included body mass index (8.12 (5.66-11.7)), triglycerides (0.52 (0.39-0.68)) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (1.41 (1.11-1.81)), whereas independent predictors of incident MUHO included body mass index (5.97 (4.58-7.77)) and triglycerides (1.26 (1.05-1.51)). Among participants with ≤ 1 metabolic abnormality, obesity was associated with greater odds of developing multiple metabolic abnormalities (OR 2.26 (1.74-2.95)). CONCLUSIONS: Triglycerides and HDL-C may be useful for predicting progression to MHO. MHO may not be a stable condition, because it confers an increased risk of developing multiple metabolic abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-234
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 11 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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