Epidemiology and Biostatistics Publications


Metabolically healthy and unhealthy weight statuses, health issues and related costs: Findings from the 2013–2015 European Health Examination Survey in Luxembourg

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Diabetes and Metabolism





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Aim: To investigate the relationship between metabolically healthy and unhealthy weight statuses and a wide range of related health issues, and healthcare and loss-of-productivity costs. Methods: A total of 693 men and 729 women, aged 25–64 years, took part in the European Health Examination Survey conducted in Luxembourg between 2013 and 2015. Metabolically unhealthy normal-weight profiles were defined as having two or more cardiometabolic abnormalities (high blood pressure, high fasting glucose or triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and/or previously diagnosed hypertension or diabetes) in people with normal weight. Metabolically healthy overweight/obesity was defined as having fewer than two of the above-mentioned abnormalities in people with overweight or obesity. For the present report, the participants’ anthropometric, clinical, biological, sociodemographic, lifestyle and health-related data were analyzed. Results: Of the participants with normal weight, 20% had a metabolically unhealthy profile, whereas 60% with overweight and 30% with obesity had a metabolically healthy profile. Comparisons between metabolically healthy and unhealthy normal weight, overweight and/or obesity status revealed that participants presented with a metabolically unhealthy profile independently of weight status (P < 0.0001). People with a metabolically healthy profile were more likely to perceive their health as good (66%; P < 0.0001), and to report no physical pain (64%; P = 0.03), no limitations in daily activities (66%; P = 0.0008), no difficulties getting in or out of a bed or chair (63%; P = 0.02) or dressing and undressing (63%; P = 0.003), going shopping (63%; P = 0.053) or doing occasional heavy housework (64%; P = 0.007); they also displayed fewer gastrointestinal (63%; P = 0.02), arthrosis (64%; P = 0.001) and sleep apnoea issues (63%; P = 0.002) compared with those with a metabolically unhealthy profile. Healthcare- and loss-of-productivity-related costs were higher with a metabolically unhealthy profile, with differences of up to € 3000 (P = 0.02). Conclusion: The present work has highlighted that, independently of weight status, people may develop a metabolically unhealthy profile associated with several health issues as well as higher healthcare and loss-of-productivity costs.

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