What does it mean to be metabolically obese?

Doctor's Answers (3)


If referring to the normal weight but metabolically obese individuals, it means people who are not defined as obese by BMI or weight, but have features of the so-called metabolic syndrome (high lipids, high sugar, insulin resistance, high uric acid, high blood pressure, fatty liver; with increased risk for diabetes and heart problems).

Individuals with a belly, a sedentary life or sometimes a genetic predisposition could be included in this category.

Wishing you the best possible health,

Dr Francisco.

Dr Francisco has provided an excellent answer, so I shall try not to repeat anything, but I would like to add that perhaps you could consider seeking a body plethysmography - this aims to measure body fat and some centres might do  CT or MRI scans to look for internal fat deposits.

Most sports medicine centres will be able to provide pre-participation screenings, that look at the things Dr Francisco mentions in addition to a full MSK screen and assessment of your exercise/health goals.  We can also provide you with advice on exercise as well as dietary consultations.

Hope this helps with your query.


Dr Dinesh

Yes, there are some individuals with normal BMIs who are at increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. This may be something genetic, where there is a family history of these conditions.

If you have increased visceral fat (this is the fat that is stored in your tummy), you are at increased risk of these medical conditions, even if your BMI is normal. Visceral fat is associated with increased waistlines, and is also related to the amount of fat consumed.

So if the belly size is large, it is likely that there is significant visceral fat and this is associated with an increased risk of metabolic complications like diabetes.

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