Home Health No Such Thing as “Fat But Fit”

No Such Thing as “Fat But Fit”

by Paul-Martin Foss

A recent study suggested that people who are overweight and obese but otherwise healthy still face an increased risk of developing heart disease. The idea of metabolically healthy obesity refers to people whose body mass indexes (BMI) are considered in the overweight or obese range but who otherwise show no signs of ill health. A BMI of 25 to 30 is considered overweight and a BMI over 30 is considered obese.

For the average 5’10” adult male, that would mean that weight over 174 pounds is considered overweight, and weighing over 209 pounds would be considered obese. For a 6’2” adult male, weighing over 195 pounds would be considered overweight and over 234 pounds would be considered obese. BMI has long been criticized because it fails to take into account bone structure, muscle mass, and other factors such as athletic endeavors that one would expect to mitigate disease risk. Under current guidelines, every member of an NFL roster would be considered overweight, and most would be considered obese, despite their obvious health and athleticism.

The recent study followed over 500,000 Europeans between the ages of 35 and 70, assessing their BMI and tracking indicators of metabolic unhealthiness such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, or larger than normal waist size, and comparing them against a control group of 10,000 metabolically healthy people. The study found that those who were considered metabolically unhealthy were more than twice as likely to develop heart disease than those considered metabolically healthy.

More surprisingly, those who were metabolically healthy but overweight had a 26 percent greater chance of developing heart disease than those of normal weight, and those who were metabolically healthy but obese had a 28 percent greater chance of developing heart disease. That seems to indicate that being fat but fit is not possible and that those carrying excess weight will eventually develop many of the unhealthy factors leading to heart disease.

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