Metabolically healthy obesity is not associated with food intake in white or black men

Academic Article


  • © 2015 American Society for Nutrition. Background: Healthy obese individuals may be protected against adverse health outcomes. Diet and race might influence healthy obesity, but data on their roles and interactions on the phenotype are limited. Objective: We compared the food intake of metabolically healthy obese men to those of other weight status-metabolic health phenotypes. Methods: Men (n = 4855) aged ≥45 y with BMI ≥18.5 kg/m2 and free of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer were evaluated in a cross-sectional study of the REGARDS (REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke) study cohort. Food intake was assessedwith the use of a food frequency questionnaire. Weight status-metabolic health phenotypes were defined by usingmetabolic syndrome (MetS) and homeostasismodel assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) criteria. Mean differences in food intake among weight status-metabolic health phenotypes were compared with the use of linear regression. Results: MetS-defined healthy obesity was present in 44% of white obese men and 58% of black obese men; the healthy obese phenotype, based on HOMA-IR, was equally prevalent in both white (20%) and black (21%) obese men. Among white men, MetS-defined healthy and unhealthy obesity were associated with lower wholegrain bread intake and higher consumption of red meat (P < 0.001), whereas HOMA-IR-defined healthy and unhealthy obesity were associated with lower red meat intake (P < 0.0001) compared with healthy normal weight in multivariable-adjusted analyses that adjusted for sociodemographic, lifestyle, and clinical confounders. However, results were attenuated and became nonsignificant after further adjustment for BMI. Healthy and unhealthy overweight, defined by both criteria, were associated with lower whole grain bread intake (P < 0.001) in all models. Among black men, weight status-metabolic health phenotypes were not associated with food intake in all models. Conclusion: Healthy obesity in men is not associated with a healthier diet. Future studies need to consider dietary patterns, which may better inform the holistic effect of diet on healthy obesity, in prospective analyses.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kimokoti RW; Judd SE; Shikany JM; Newby PK
  • Start Page

  • 2551
  • End Page

  • 2561
  • Volume

  • 145
  • Issue

  • 11