Heart disease still a risk for people who are ‘fat but fit’, study finds

While people who are overweight might enjoy active lifestyles and high levels of fitness, it seems those extra pounds could increase the risk of heart attack, no matter how healthy the person may seem.

A recent study of over half a million people across Europe has debunked the 'fat but fit' myth, after results showed that overweight and obese people had up to a 28 per cent higher risk of developing coronary heart disease, even if their blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels were normal.

Head researcher, Camille Lassale, of University College London, concluded that "there is no such thing as being healthy obese."

"You are at an increased risk of heart disease," she added.

For the study, scientists examined data on 520,000 people in 10 countries from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

During a follow-up period of 12 years, 7,637 people were found to have encountered issues with heart health.

After comparing this group to 10,000 others in the study, researchers found that people who were overweight but healthy had a 26 per cent increased risk of developing heart disease.

This risk rose to 28 per cent for those with a BMI over 30.

"Even if you are classified as metabolically healthy, (excess weight) was associated with an increased risk of heart disease," Camille said.

"It's another brick in the wall of evidence that being healthy overweight is not true."