People who are overweight or obese are at increased risk of heart disease even if they appear medically healthy, experts are warning.
The researchers studied health data on more than half a million people in 10 European countries, including the UK.
Normal blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels were no assurance of good heart health among obese people.
After a follow-up period of more than 12 years, 7,637 of the people in the study had developed heart disease.
Weight appeared to be a risk factor.
Being fat and “metabolically unhealthy” – having high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar – was riskier still.
The researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge say the findings are a reminder that carrying too much fat can store up health problems for the future.
Dr Ioanna Tzoulaki, from Imperial’s School of Public Health, said: “I think there is no longer this concept of healthy obese.
“If anything, our study shows that people with excess weight who might be classed as ‘healthy’ haven’t yet developed an unhealthy metabolic profile.
“That comes later in the timeline, then they have an event, such as a heart attack.”