A new study published in the Journal of Public Health from Oxford University classifies 6 types of obese people. This study aims to help healthcare providers to better understand obese patients and the differences between them.
The study starts by analyzing a group of people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) higher than 30, which are considered obese. The limitation of BMI is that it considers everyone with a BMI over 30 to be obese and doesn’t take into account the heterogeneity of such group.
Researchers wanted to create subgroups within obese people that would take into account the differences between them: “BMI is a classification of weight and height, not of people, who are only similar in terms of their BMI category. Using a single classification for obesity will fail to recognize the variation between the individuals who are obese.”
To study and classify types of obese people is important because, according to the researchers: “Failing to acknowledge the population-level heterogeneity among those classified as obese may restrict the effectiveness of interventions or treatments offered by clinicians, since approaches may need tailoring depending upon the health practices associated with individuals involved.”
Six different types of people with a BMI <30 were identified:
- Heavy drinking males: these are less likely to manage their weight well;
- Young healthy females: who are more likely to take weight loss steps;
- Wealthy healthy elderly: these people tend to have higher blood pressure;
- Physically sick but happy elderly: people with a good mental health and a good sense of well-being;
- Unhappy anxious middle aged: mostly women who may suffer from psychological issues and;
- Poorest health: this group has de highest prevalence of chronic health conditions and doesn’t engage in healthy behaviors.
The goal of the study was to show that within obese people there are major differences: different attitudes towards life, well-being notions and behaviors, and predisposition to take action to lose weight. This study more than identifying and categorizing obese people, tries to show the importance of understanding the reason for the excess weight and the entire context around obese people to better help them achieve a more healthy weight.
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Read the full article about the 6 types of obese people here.