And are not predisposed to heart ailments, according to a surprise study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. And yet another study showed that being slim doesn't automatically protect you from heart-related illnesses such as high blood pressure and cholestrol, and diabetes.
In the first study, conducted by Norbert Stefan and a team at the University of Tubingen in Germany, the researchers studied the fat around the internal organs and under the skin of 314 individuals with an average age of 45.
The obese individuals in the study were divided into two groups: those who were resistant to insulin and those who were not. Insulin resistance is a pre-diabetic condition, meaning some symptoms of diabetes are present and progression to full-blown diabetes is likely.
Those who were obese and resistant to insulin had more muscle fat, fat in their livers and thicker carotid-artery walls -- an early sign of artery narrowing, which is a heart-disease risk factor -- than obese individuals without insulin resistance, the study found.
In addition, obese individuals who were not insulin-resistant had no differences in artery-wall thickness from the normal-weight group. "We provide evidence that a metabolically benign obesity can be identified and that it may protect from insulin resistance and atherosclerosis," the researchers wrote.
The second study carried out by Rachel Wildman at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York examined body weight and cardio-metabolic abnormalities -- including high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides and low levels of so-called good cholesterol -- in 5,440 individuals between 1999 and 2004.
The study found that some obese people are metabolically healthy.
"Obese individuals with no metabolic abnormalities were more likely to be younger, black, more physically active and have smaller waists than those with metabolic risk factors," the authors wrote. Those of normal weight with health risks were older, less active and had a larger waist than the average population.
Among the US population aged 20 and older, some 23 percent (16 million adults) of normal weight have metabolic abnormalities, while 51 percent (36 million) of overweight adults and 32 percent (19.5 million) of obese adults "were metabolically healthy," the authors wrote.
Source: Yahoo! News