Metabolic phenotyping of BMI to characterize cardiometabolic risk: evidence from large population-based cohorts

Nat Commun. 2023 Oct 7;14(1):6280. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-41963-7.


Obesity is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. However, a substantial proportion of patients with these conditions have a seemingly normal body mass index (BMI). Conversely, not all obese individuals present with metabolic disorders giving rise to the concept of "metabolically healthy obese". We use lipidomic-based models for BMI to calculate a metabolic BMI score (mBMI) as a measure of metabolic dysregulation associated with obesity. Using the difference between mBMI and BMI (mBMIΔ), we identify individuals with a similar BMI but differing in their metabolic health and disease risk profiles. Exercise and diet associate with mBMIΔ suggesting the ability to modify mBMI with lifestyle intervention. Our findings show that, the mBMI score captures information on metabolic dysregulation that is independent of the measured BMI and so provides an opportunity to assess metabolic health to identify "at risk" individuals for targeted intervention and monitoring.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome* / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Risk Factors