• uncomplicated obesity;
  • risk factors;
  • obese population study


Objective: The existence of healthy obese subjects has been suggested but not clearly reported. We sought to address the prevalence of uncomplicated obesity and adverse risk factors in a large Italian obese population.

Research Methods and Procedures: This was a cross-sectional study of a population of consecutive Italian obese subjects. We studied 681 obese subjects (514 women and 167 men), with a mean age of 41.1 ± 13.9 years (range, 16 to 77 years), mean BMI of 40.2 ± 7.6 kg/m2 (range, 30 to 89.8 kg/m2), and a history of obesity for 20.5 ± 7 years (range, 10.5 to 30 years). Anthropometric, metabolic, cardiac, and obesity-related risk factors were evaluated.

Results: The prevalence of uncomplicated subjects was 27.5%, independent of BMI and duration of obesity. The youngest group of obese subjects showed a higher, but not statistically significantly higher, prevalence of uncomplicated obesity. No statistical difference for the prevalence of impaired fasting glucose, glucose intolerance, high triglycerides, high total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol among BMI categories (from mild to extremely severe obesity degree) was found. Obese subjects with BMI >50 kg/m2 showed a higher prevalence of high blood pressure only when they were compared with the group with a BMI of 30 to 35 kg/m2 (p < 0.01). Obese subjects with BMI >40 kg/m2 showed a higher prevalence of hyperinsulinemia than subjects with BMI 30 to 35 kg/m2 (p < 0.01).

Discussion: This study shows that a substantial part of an Italian obese population has uncomplicated obesity, and the prevalence of adverse risk factors in this sample is unexpectedly low and partially independent of obesity degree. Uncomplicated obesity could represent a well-defined clinical entity.