Can You Be Fit and Fat?
Despite contrary claims, a new study says you can't be big and healthy at the same time. What's the final word?
Somewhere, Fit Mom is cackling in delight. Despite several prior reports to the contrary, new research says you can't be fit and overweight at the same time. What's going on here?
But I thought I could be big, beautiful and healthy!
Several small studies have found, for example, size 12s who can run marathons. They are called, to paraphrase a viral New York Times article, the "Healthy Obese." In a study in the journal Diabetologia, researchers found that people, "despite their obesity, have normal cholesterol levels, healthy blood pressure levels and no apparent signs of impending diabetes."
So what's science saying this time around?
Canadian scientists culled data all the way back to the 1950s and found that people above their recommended body mass index (BMI) but did not have abnormal cholesterol or blood pressure "still had a higher risk of dying from heart disease over an average of about 10 years compared to metabolically healthy individuals within normal weight ranges," TIME reports via a new analysis published in Annals of Internal Medicine. Simply, you cannot be fit and fat.
So which study is right/wrong?
Dr. Caroline Kramer, the current study’s lead author, says the contradiction is due to how the other studies were set up. For example, some studies only looked at weight and the risk of negative effects instead of looking at over metabolic health. This means these healthy obese people might have had signs of diabetes or hypertension or high cholesterol that simply weren’t recorded in the study. “This concept of healthy obesity came in the last 10 years, and it compares people who are obese but metabolically healthy to only metabolically unhealthy overweight people,” says Dr. Kramer.
Should you be worried about your weight?
It seems, for now, you'd want to stick to a healthy weight to avoid early death. Talk to your doctor about what you steps you should take for a healthier lifestyle if you have a high BMI.
We'll let Maria Kang, aka Fit Mom, who was briefly banned from Facebook after sharing how she felt about our country's state obesity, share the closing statement. "The popular and unrelenting support received to those who are borderline obese (not just 30 to 40 lbs overweight) frustrates me as a fitness advocate who intimately understands how poor health negatively affects a family, a community, and a nation."
What side of the debate are you on?