Debate has raged for years over the question of whether you can be obese and yet physically healthy. Now, new research suggests the theory of being ‘fat and fit’ is an age-old myth.
While many of us might consider ourselves healthy despite carrying a few extra pounds, it appears we can’t avoid the increased health risks extra weight brings.
WHAT IS THE RESEARCH?
The scientific research, from the University of Birmingham, studied the GP records of 3.5million British people between 1995 and 2015 to test the ‘fit and fat’ theory.
It found that, compared to people of a normal weight, people who were obese but healthy in all other respects still had a 49% increased risk of developing heart disease and a higher risk of strokes, high blood pressure and diabetes later in life.
The extra weight is considered the only factor causing the increased risks.
IS THERE ANY EVIDENCE AGAINST THIS?
Well, there are always the ‘plus-size athletes’, 16 stone marathon runners, highly-stacked rugby players and super-sized Olympic weightlifters to challenge this theory. Their fitness suggests that being overweight doesn’t have to mean being unfit.
There is evidence that some obese people may be genetically programmed to be fit and healthy, despite any extra weight.
Plus, other studies suggest that it’s not always the amount of weight we carry, but where we carry it that matters. Fat stored around the middle is more dangerous than elsewhere on the body.
There will always be obese people who exercise regularly and are healthy, and slim people who doesn’t exercise at all, and the obese person could be, metabolically, much healthier.
The priority for anyone is to maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly.
Don’t make excuses – even 10 minutes will help shed fat, and there are plenty of different sessions to try at your local gym to keep things interesting.
I remember an old friend who was like this - quite large but very fit and ate very healthy. I would say yes, though it sounds like maybe the health hazards are lurking there in the future. I would have thought that regular exercise would offset any health hazards from being overweight, so this has surprised me.