Can You Be Obese and Healthy?

York University's Faculty of Health researchers have concluded that their patients who are obese, but have no other metabolic risk factors don't have an increase in early mortality rates.

Jennifer Kuk, associate professor at the School of Kinesiology and Health Science, led the research.

"This is in contrast with most of the literature and we think this is because most studies have defined metabolic healthy obesity as having up to one metabolic risk factor," Kuk said. 

The study showed that obesity alone did not increase mortality rate like high blood pressure or diabetes does.

The study found that 1 out of 20 patients with obesity had no other metabolic abnormalities.

"We're showing that individuals with metabolically healthy obesity are actually not at an elevated mortality rate. We found that a person of normal weight with no other metabolic risk factors is just as likely to die as the person with obesity and no other risk factors," says Kuk.

Journal Reference:

  1. J. L. Kuk, M. Rotondi, X. Sui, S. N. Blair, C. I. Ardern. Individuals with obesity but no other metabolic risk factors are not at significantly elevated all-cause mortality risk in men and womenClinical Obesity, 2018; DOI: 
  2. York University. "Obesity alone does not increase risk of death: New study could change the way we think about obesity and health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 2018. <>