Few studies have described the characteristics of metabolically healthy individuals with excess fat in the Chinese population. This study aimed to prospectively investigate the natural course of metabolically healthy overweight/obese (MH-OW/OB) adults, and to assess the impact of weight change on developing metabolic abnormalities. During 2009–2010, 525 subjects without any metabolic abnormalities or other obesity-related diseases were evaluated and reevaluated after 5 years. The subjects were categorized into two groups of overweight/obese and normal weight based on the criteria of BMI by 24.0 at baseline. At follow-up, the MH-OW/OB subjects had a significantly increased risk of developing metabolically abnormalities compared with metabolically healthy normal-weight (MH-NW) individuals (risk ratio: 1.35, 95% confidence interval: 1.17–1.49, p
value < 0.001). In the groups of weight gain and weight maintenance, the MH-OW/OB subjects was associated with a larger increase in fasting glucose, triglycerides, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure and decrease in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol comparing with MH-NW subjects. In the weight loss group, no significant difference of changes of metabolic parameters was observed between MH-OW/OB and MH-NW adults. This study verifies that MH-OW/OB are different from MH-NW subjects. Weight management is needed for all individuals since weight change has a significant effect on metabolic health without considering the impact of weight change according to weight status.
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