Why Some Unhealthy People Just Don't Put On Weight

Why Some Unhealthy People Just Don't Put On Weight

Everyone has that one friend (or five) who can comfortably gorge on whatever they want without worrying about the possibility of gaining weight. That extra slice of cake rarely poses thoughts of regret, and they don't need to worry about applying extra pressure to force the shirt buttons together after multiple feeds at a takeaway.

The medical world refer to these abnormal creatures as the metabolically healthy obese.

And for those who struggle to maintain a healthy weight, encounters with these people and their merciful metabolism, understandably insights feelings of hatred.

When someone mentions obesity, we immediately conjure up images of overweight people and anybody sporting a lean frame is automatically considered healthy. But the reality is, that an unhealthy person doesn't need to look morbidly overweight in order to be clinically obese.

How To Define Obesity

High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and damaged arteries, are the standard symptoms of an obese person. Another avenue to concluding that someone is obese, is to calculate their Body Mass Index. Medical professionals contest that someone with a BMI of between 25 and 29 are considered overweight while those with a BMI of 30 or higher are labelled obese.



Those with metabolically healthy obesity have a BMI figure that would be consistent with that of someone who has the more conventional image of obesity, but their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels are all relatively normal.

Why Are They So Lucky?

Up to 25% of obese people are metabolically healthy, and identifying an explanation for someone's constitutionally lean physique requires looking at a few factors. The genetic background of a person is certainly a noteworthy indicator. People with overweight parents tend to mature into a person of similar stature, while those with thin parents generally inherit their fortunate looks.


Eating habits play a part as well. People who eat slowly and have a smaller appetite for food, are more likely to be thinner than those who prefer to gobble down their dinner in a few heaving mouthfuls. Other research suggests that certain proteins in their body protect some people from the harmful effects of obesity.

Impact Of Exercise

If you are already at a reasonable body weight, it stands to reason that weight loss should not be a goal for those with metabolically healthy obesity. But contrary to that notion, one study found that discouraging any unhealthy individual from exercising is an inappropriate health message to promote.


Exercise is always important, particularly when you consider the sheer raft of health defects that could arise from a life completely deprived of exercise.

By No Means Out Of The Woods

But it would be ill advised to rely on all of these blessings forever. The weighing scale might be feeling lenient for now but you are not guaranteed to have that liberty on a permanent basis. Ageing, depleted levels of exercise and other changes occurring inside the body, could result in the manifestation of the other unsightly side effects of obesity. And while the metabolically healthy obese might have a lower risk factor of developing diabetes compared to their unfortunately bigger counterparts, they are still more susceptible to the condition than those who are healthy.

Sinead Farrell

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