TODAY   |  October 12, 2013

Obese but healthy? New research says it’s possible

A new study examines the idea of fitness on a metabolic level, which looks at cholesterol levels and heart health, and not necessarily weight. One doctor said the study may be an opportunity to have a better understanding about health risks associated with obesity. TODAY’s Erica Hill interviews Dr. Steven Lamm.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> more than a third of americans are obese and we have been warned how bad that can be for your health. it was surprising when a new study came out this week, saying that many people carrying too many extra pounds are actually healthy. dr. season lateven lamb joins us now. we hear obese and overweight. i think many of us probably jump to the conclusion these are people who are not healthy so explain how you you can be obese and healthy.

>> the mantle of people will transition from being overweight to being unhealthy but a small percentage early on in hair lives as young adults who may be metabolically still viewed as normal. cholesterol and blood pressure is noormal. we are not talking about physical fitness but metabolic fitness but many will transition for an unhealthy state.

>> what transitions you to unhealthy state?

>> it is unknown. they do genetic studies. one twin is overweight and sometimes they are metabolically healthy and some are nope. subtle differences between individuals that determine whether the fat cells themselves guess angry. when they get angry, they explode and cause diabetes and hypertension and all kinds of problems.

>> the people who are healthy and obese theory fat cells are not angry?

>> they are not angry. the fats do become ultimately almost angry. people who smoke and never get lung cancer and people have high cholesterol and don't get heart disease but i wouldn't count on it, i wouldn't bet on it.

>> do we need to change the focus?

>> we need to have an understanding why people who are overweight can develop the illness. as you might look at instead of study people who are depressed, why not study people who are happy what about them protects them from depress. one size doesn't fit all. there are people who are overweight who remain healthy for longer times but i wouldn't bet on it.

>> no reason for all of us not to be healthier in our lives?

>> correct.