Can Someone Be Fat and Fit?

February 25, 2008 10:50 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Some researchers suggest being overweight can be healthy if combined with an active lifestyle; health is too often reduced to a number on a scale.

30-Second Summary

Prevailing medical wisdom holds that overweight Americans are at increased risk of death from heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.

In 2004, the Centers for Disease Control estimated that obesity costs the United States $75 billion in health care and lost productivity.

But in recent years a number of voices have spoken up, in books and studies, to suggest that excess fat is not as much of a factor in chronic diseases as having a sedentary lifestyle.

Two years ago CDC researcher Katherine M. Flegal did a statistical analysis of national survey data and found that “mildly overweight adults had a lower risk of dying than those at so-called healthy weights,” Scientific American reports.

Though most researchers agree that a thin sedentary person faces similar health risks as someone who is overweight, those who have studied obesity believe it remains a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

In addition, some experts say weight, physical activity and the risk of chronic health problems such as diabetes are three separate health issues that should not necessarily be lumped together.

Weight management and obesity prevention is a popular topic online, and there are thousands of Web sites devoted to both issues.

Nonetheless, as the scientific community continues to study the relationship between weight, lifestyle and health, studies that produce differing conclusions can be confusing. Asking critical questions about the research and talking to a physician can go a long way in helping people determine what is best for their situation.

Headline Links: Fat and fit at the same time?

Reaction: Fit and fat possible, but unusual

Reference: Obesity, weight loss guides

Related: What to do with contradictory research


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