The concept of metabolically healthy vs. unhealthy obese (MHO vs. MUO) was expanded to non-obese individuals as obesity-related comorbidities exist in a sub-group of normal weight (NW), i.e., MHNW vs. MUNW. It is unclear if MUNW differs from MHO with respect to cardiometabolic health. Purpose The purpose of this study was to compare cardiometabolic disease risk factors between MH vs. MU across weight status, NW, and obesity. Method A total of 8160 adults were included in the study from both the 2019 and 2020 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Individuals with NW vs. obesity were further stratified as MH vs. MU by using AHA/NHLBI criterion for metabolic syndrome. A retrospective pair-matched analysis with respect to sex (male/female) and age ( ± 2 years) was performed to verify our total cohort analyses/results. Results Despite a gradual increase in BMI and waist circumference from MHNW to MUNW to MHO to MUO, the surrogate estimates of insulin resistance and arterial stiffness were higher in MUNW vs. MHO. When compared to the MHNW, MUNW and MUO showed higher odds of hypertension (MUNW: 512%, MUO: 784%), dyslipidemia (MUNW: 210%, MUO: 245%), and diabetes (MUNW: 920%, MUO: 4012%), with no difference between MHNW and MHO. Conclusion Individuals with MUNW vs. MHO have greater vulnerability to cardiometabolic disease. Our data indicate that cardiometabolic risk is not solely dependent on adiposity, suggesting that early preventive efforts for chronic disease are needed for individuals with NW yet MU.
- Metabolic health
- Metabolically unhealthy normal weight
- Metabolically healthy obesity