First paper of 2022 came out today in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health! For this paper we looked at potential associations between body mass index and body adiposity with cholesterol and glucose levels among a small sample of reindeer herders in sub-Arctic Finland.

Despite over 70% of the herders being classified as having obesity or being overweight, blood biomarkers were largely normal. Though total cholesterol was high, this appears to be largely driven by high HDL cholesterol levels. Furthermore, glucose levels were also relatively normal.

Though the sample size is small, there does not appear to be a strong correlation between BMI, body adiposity and some indicators of cardiometabolic health, which has been seen among other populations.

This adds further evidence that using BMI and its health correlates as a diagnostic tool is not particularly helpful especially as the individual level.

Furthermore, as the reindeer herders are highly physically active and have a variety of cold climate adaptations, we could be seeing a demonstration of the fat and fit (and cold) hypothesis playing out.