Metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) among US adults increased significantly in the past 2 decades, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open. An Pan, PhD, and colleagues used data from 20,430 adult participants across 10 NHANES cycles to characterize trends in the prevalence of MHO among US adults with obesity. The age-standardized proportion of MHO increased from 10.6% in the 1999-2002 cycles to 15.0% in the 2015-2018 cycles. For adults aged 60 and older, men, non-Hispanic White individuals, and those with higher income, private insurance, or class I obesity, there were substantial increases in the proportion of MHO. Over time, significant decreases were observed in the age-standardized prevalence of elevated triglycerides (44.9% to 29.0%) and
reduced HDL cholesterol (51.1% to 39.6%). While there was no significant change in elevated blood pressure, there was a significant increase seen in elevated fasting plasma glucose (49.7% to 58.0%). “These results highlight the need for effective strategies to optimize metabolic status and prevent obesity-related complications among people with obesity, especially among vulnerable sub-populations,” Dr. Pan and colleagues wrote.