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Does high BMI translate into health problems? According to the researchers, not necessarily

The BMI index has been used in medicine for many years. On its basis, it was determined whether a given person had the correct weight. It also allowed to estimate the risk of developing obesity-related diseases. However, the latest research shows that this indicator is not sufficiently reliable. Why?

How does BMI translate into the risk of obesity-related diseases?

BMI is the ratio of your weight (in kilograms) to your height squared (in meters). A value in the range of 18.5-24.9 means that the person has a normal body weight. However, a result above 30 – indicates obesity. On its basis, the risk of obesity-related diseases is also estimated. However, the most recent study ‘Independent Phenotypic Plasticity Axes Define Separate Subtypes of Obesity’ published in Nature Metabolism shows that BMI is not sufficiently reliable.

Andrew Pospisilik – one of the authors of the study and an expert in epigenetics – in an interview with said that scientists have long divided obese people into three groups: healthy, suffering from comorbidities and healthy with a high risk of developing comorbidities. The specialist explained that the research wanted to see if it was possible to genetically identify these “types” of obesity.

First, researchers analyzed data on twins and the ways in which their weight changed over the years. Later they started researching mice. – Using only data, we noticed for the first time that there are at least two different metabolic subtypes of obesity, each of which has its own physiological and molecular characteristics that affect health. […] Lab Results [przy wykorzystaniu myszy – red.] they were almost identical to the data on human twins. We saw two distinct types of obesity again, said Andrew Pospisilik.

Obesity – in whom is it more common?

The collected data allowed scientists to distinguish four metabolic subtypes – two of them are prone to obesity and two to leanness. At the same time, they noted that of the two subtypes prone to obesity, only one was associated with more frequent inflammationwhich, as a result, may increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer and other diseases.

Interestingly, researchers have observed that certain genes in people with this subtype make them more susceptible to factors (e.g. specific foods) that favor weight gain, and thus increase the risk of developing obesity-related diseases. This means that the person who has high BMI does not necessarily have health problems resulting from abnormal body weightand a patient with the correct weight may have it.

In the opinion of the authors of the study, the awareness that such subtypes exist may help doctors and patients themselves fight obesity and the diseases that it entails more effectively.

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Source From: Dziendobry

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