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Arch Intern Med. 2008 Aug 11;168(15):1617-24. doi: 10.1001/archinte.168.15.1617.

The obese without cardiometabolic risk factor clustering and the normal weight with cardiometabolic risk factor clustering: prevalence and correlates of 2 phenotypes among the US population (NHANES 1999-2004).

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Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Ave, Belfer Building, Room 1309, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.



The prevalence and correlates of obese individuals who are resistant to the development of the adiposity-associated cardiometabolic abnormalities and normal-weight individuals who display cardiometabolic risk factor clustering are not well known.


The prevalence and correlates of combined body mass index (normal weight, < 25.0; overweight, 25.0-29.9; and obese, > or = 30.0 [calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared]) and cardiometabolic groups (metabolically healthy, 0 or 1 cardiometabolic abnormalities; and metabolically abnormal, > or = 2 cardiometabolic abnormalities) were assessed in a cross-sectional sample of 5440 participants of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 1999-2004. Cardiometabolic abnormalities included elevated blood pressure; elevated levels of triglycerides, fasting plasma glucose, and C-reactive protein; elevated homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance value; and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level.


Among US adults 20 years and older, 23.5% (approximately 16.3 million adults) of normal-weight adults were metabolically abnormal, whereas 51.3% (approximately 35.9 million adults) of overweight adults and 31.7% (approximately 19.5 million adults) of obese adults were metabolically healthy. The independent correlates of clustering of cardiometabolic abnormalities among normal-weight individuals were older age, lower physical activity levels, and larger waist circumference. The independent correlates of 0 or 1 cardiometabolic abnormalities among overweight and obese individuals were younger age, non-Hispanic black race/ethnicity, higher physical activity levels, and smaller waist circumference.


Among US adults, there is a high prevalence of clustering of cardiometabolic abnormalities among normal-weight individuals and a high prevalence of overweight and obese individuals who are metabolically healthy. Further study into the physiologic mechanisms underlying these different phenotypes and their impact on health is needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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