Can You Be Fat but Fit? Not Likely, Study Says

Can You Be Fat but Fit? Not Likely, Study Says
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People who are overweight or obese are a bit misinformed if they believe that just because they don’t have any immediate health problems, it means that they can be “fat but fit.” Furthermore, they actually set themselves up for health problems by believing that they have the same disease risk as healthy-weight people, a study by scientists at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. suggests. [1]

Researchers examined the health records of about 3.5 million people in the U.K. from 1995 to 2015 who didn’t have heart disease at the start of the study, and then grouped them according to body mass index (BMI) and whether they had diabetes, high blood pressure, or abnormal blood fat levels.

Natural Society
Source: Drexel Medicine

Those who had a high BMI but no other health problems were categorized as “metabolically healthy obese,” yet they were found to have a 50% increased risk of heart disease, a 7% higher risk of stroke or heart attack, and an 11% greater risk of developing poor circulation to the limbs.

Rishi Caleyachetty, Ph.D., co-author of the study and an epidemiologist at the university, said:

“This is the largest prospective study of the association between metabolically health [sic] obesity and cardiovascular disease events.” [2]

“The priority of health professionals should be to promote and facilitate weight loss among obese persons, regardless of the presence or absence of metabolic abnormalities. At the population level, so-called metabolically healthy obesity is not a harmless condition, and perhaps it is better not to use this term to describe an obese person, regardless of how many metabolic complications they have.” [3]

The study contradicts past research, which has indicated that metabolically healthy obese people don’t have the complications normally associated with obesity, including high blood pressure, diabetes, or poor blood sugar control. [3]

Read: The Average American Woman Now Weighs as Much as 1960s Man

A study by Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam published earlier this year seemed to indicate that obesity doesn’t necessarily equal poor health, and that exercise reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke, regardless of BMI. [3]

However, that same study found that if people had a combination of obesity and inactivity, they were a third more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.

Now, in light of the latest study’s findings, researchers are calling for the term “metabolically healthy obesity” to be changed. [3]

Right now in America, more than one-third of adults are obese, according to the CDC. Not a single state in the union has an obesity rate of less than 20%. [2]

Natural Society
Source: Population Reference Bureau

Apart from future health problems, overweight people statistically earn less in their careers than normal-weight people, and women are the most affected.


[1] Men’s Fitness

[2] New York Post

[3] Express

Drexel Medicine

Population Reference Bureau