The concept of normal weight obesity

Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2014 Jan-Feb;56(4):426-33. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2013.10.003. Epub 2013 Oct 5.


Individuals with normal body weight by body mass index (BMI) and high body fat percentage show a high degree of metabolic dysregulation. This phenomenon, defined as normal weight obesity, is associated with a significantly higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome, cardiometabolic dysfunction and with higher mortality. Recently, we have also shown that coronary artery disease patients with normal BMI and central obesity have the highest mortality risk as compared to other adiposity patterns. Therefore, it is important to recognize these high-risk groups for better adiposity-based risk stratification. There is a need for an updated definition of obesity based on adiposity, not on body weight.

Keywords: BF; BMI; Body fat percentage; CHD; CVD; Central obesity; DM; HDL; HF; HOMA; HTN; Homeostasis Model Assessment; LDL; Metabolically obese normal weight; NWO; Normal weight obesity; Obesity; WC; WHO; WHR; World Health Organization; body fat; body mass index; cardiovascular disease; coronary heart disease; diabetes mellitus; heart failure; high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; hypertension; low-density lipoprotein; normal weight obesity; waist circumference; waist-to-hip ratio.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Composition*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / diagnosis*
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity, Morbid / diagnosis
  • Obesity, Morbid / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Survival Analysis