Study Reveals ‘Fat but Fit’ Concept is Misleading

June 14, 2015
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If you still think that fat can still be fit, it is time you ditch the idea. There’s a recent study that reveals that this concept does not hold water in the long run.

Yes, some obese people might not show any signs of heart problems or other diseases, but it’s just a matter of time before they do. This study shows that carrying excessive poundage will eventually wear out the body and cause a host of sicknesses.

The Nature of the Study

The Nature of the Study-GymMembershipFeesThe study was conducted by the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London in England. British researchers tracked 2,500 men and women for a period of 20 years.

They recorded their body mass indices (BMI), blood pressures, insulin resistance levels, cholesterol counts and fasting glucoses. Many of the subjects who were obese, eventually have their heart disease risk factors appear, the study says.

The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

“Based on this the state of healthy obesity should be regarded as a high risk state,” says lead author Joshua Bell. He is a researcher in the epidemiology and public health department at University College London.

“Over the long term there is a tendency to progress to unhealthy obesity rather than staying stable or becoming healthy non-obese,” he adds. The study seems to refute the long-standing notion that you can be obese and be healthy at the same time.

Bell and his team of researchers defined a healthy obese person as someone who has no metabolic risks factors for heart disease. However, during the study period of 20 years, there was a tendency for the ‘healthy obese’ subjects to develop several risk factors.

These include high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure. At the end of the study, over 51 per cent of the subjects were categorized as being unhealthy.

The participants with a BMI score of 30 or more are considered ‘obese’, based on the body mass calculator used by the National Institutes of Health. Those who have BMIs of 25 to 25.9 are categorized as ‘overweight.’

With regards to the rest of the subjects, around 48 per cent, Bell said “you need to pay attention to the trend.”

“Twenty years is a long-time follow-up for research purposes, but it’s by no means a full-life course. The trend is for increasing numbers of the healthy obese people to become unhealthy obese,” he continues.

“There may well be people who maintain stability over a lifetime, but we are talking about a small group of people. This doesn’t seem to be the norm, but rather the exception,” explains Bell.

At the beginning of the study, 181 of the subjects were classified as obese, with 66 of the same people designated as healthy. After five years, 32 percent of these “healthy obese” participants had developed risk factors. After another five years, their numbers increased by 41 per cent.

“I think that we Americans all want someone to confirm the idea that being obese is not all bad all the time,” says Dr. Kathryn Berlacher, a cardiologist at the school’s Magee-Women’s Hospital and also an assistant professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Even if there may be a small sector of the population that can maintain good health while being obese, according to Berlacher, “the large majority won’t be able to achieve that over the long term.”

Dr. Andrew Freeman, the director of clinical cardiology at National Jewish Health Medical Center in Denver offers additional insights to the topic by comparing the developing science examining obesity to past findings on cigarette smoking.

According to Freeman, like the experts of long ago who recorded the damage that cigarette smoking does for several years, today’s scientific researchers should also assess the damage that extra pounds do to the body over time.

Freeman said that the longer a person carries all of those extra weight, the greater the possibility that he will develop more serious health damage.

“Obesity affects virtually every organ in the body,” says Freeman. “Fat itself is hormone secreting tissue. This article suggests that the longer you are obese, the less likely it is that you will stay healthy,” he adds.

Facing the Problem Squarely

If you are overweight, you need to consider the findings of this study. The results of this study cannot be disputed since it ran for about 20 years. It is useless to continue holding on to a concept that is now proven by actual scientific study as faulty and dangerous.

The exact solutions are already well in place, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly in gyms such as Mountainside Fitness or Title Boxing Club, and living a healthy and active life. It is now your move, and let it be in the right direction.

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