Can you be fit AND fat?

New research claims the concept of being both fat and medically fit at the same time is in fact a myth.

Can you be fit AND fat?

According to new research, the concept of being both healthy and obese at the same time should now be dismissed as a myth.

'Healthy' obesity

Previous studies in 2012 concluded that up to a third of obese people were 'metabolically healthy' despite being overweight. As long as they didn’t have high cholesterol or blood pressure, it was thought that they could be considered as physically fit, despite being obese. 

However, scientists at the 2017 European Congress on Obesity presented their findings following the largest ever study on this subject. The health records of 3.5 million obese but 'metabolically healthy' adults in the UK were analysed over a 20 year period, from 1995 to 2015.

Higher risks

The study found that despite being apparently 'fat but fit', these people actually had a much higher risk of heart failure, stroke, or developing heart disease. There was a 49 per cent increase in the risk of coronary heart disease and the risk of heart failure increased by 96 per cent.

These are figures that cannot be ignored. And yet plenty of us have been overtaken during a marathon by a runner twice our size and there are plenty of fit rugby players, wrestlers and heavier athletes who would contest this new conclusion based on BMI, a notoriously vague indicator of fatness. The debate is certainly not over. 

Get the habit

The experts agree that exercise and healthy eating are the key to better health, and ultimately to achieving a healthy weight. So what can we do?

Make healthy eating and lifestyle choices into a habit and you may be surprised how much it rubs off on others. This is particularly important for the next generation. The more we can establish exercise as a normal, enjoyable part of life, the easier it will be to combat obesity in the future.

For tips on getting your kids active, click here!

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