Skinny and 119 Pounds, But with the Health Hallmarks of Obesity” was published by the New York Times on 7-21-16. This article reports on body of research about metabolic disorders suffered by obese people, and even if you very rare non-obese people. There is a 40-year history of research in this area, but researchers recently achieved a breakthrough by studying very rare people who are actually underweight, but have severe diseases caused by excess fat in some of their organs.

This research has provided an explanation for why about 20% of obese people do not develop significant co-occurring health conditions. Most obese people have bodies that have a limit to how much fat can be absorbed outside of their organs; when this limit is exceeded the fat is taken in by organs, causing severe, even life-threatening, diseases. Some people have an unlimited ability to absorb fat outside of their organs, and even though they can be severely obese they do not develop these diseases. This research has led to an improved understanding of how fat deposits are created, maintained, and me resist efforts to reduce them.

mhconcierge’s take: this research is helpful for behavioral professionals working with people suffering from excess weight. Many of these people, even though they made bad behavioral choices in the past, can do all of the right things now and still overcome a metabolic barrier. This research supports the need for behavioral specialists to collaborate with bariatric specialists, and vice a versa as bariatric treatments require strict behavioral compliance.

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