, Volume 51, Issue 9, pp 1752-1754
Date: 27 May 2008

Metabolically healthy but obese women: effect of an energy-restricted diet

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To the Editor: A unique subset of obese individuals has been identified that appears to be protected against obesity-related metabolic disturbances [1, 2]. These individuals, now known as ‘metabolically healthy but obese’ (MHO) individuals, display a favourable metabolic profile, characterised by high levels of insulin sensitivity, normal lipid and inflammation profiles and no sign of hypertension, despite having excessive body fatness. In fact, the metabolic profiles of MHO postmenopausal women are virtually indistinguishable from those of young lean women [3]. Interestingly, a recent longitudinal study reported that the protective metabolic profile observed in MHO individuals was associated with lower incidences of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases [4]. Moreover, evidence suggests that MHO individuals may account for as much as 20–30% of the obese population [5].

An important question that seems to be unresolved is whether MHO individuals would gain any metabolic benefit fro