Photo: Getty Images
Maybe you can be fat and happy. But, can you be fat and healthy? There is a new study that challenges previous research and conventional wisdom on the health prospects of obese people.
In a Medical News Today article, “Study Finds That It's Possible To Be Fat And Healthy,” there is news that is controversial to say the least. Published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, the study finds that obese people who are otherwise healthy live just as long as their slim counterparts, and are less likely to die of cardiovascular causes.
"Our findings challenge the idea that all obese individuals need to lose weight," says lead author Jennifer Kuk, assistant professor in York's School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health. "Moreover, it's possible that trying - and failing - to lose weight may be more detrimental than simply staying at an elevated body weight and engaging in a healthy lifestyle that includes physical activity and a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables," she says. Kuk's team looked at 6,000 obese Americans over a 16-year span, comparing their mortality risk with that of lean individuals.
They found that obese individuals who had no (or only mild) physical, psychological or physiological impairments had a higher body weight in early adulthood, were happier with this higher body weight, and had attempted to lose weight less frequently during their lives. However, these individuals were also more likely to be physically active and consume a healthy diet.
Researchers used a newly-developed grading tool, the Edmonton Obesity Staging System (EOSS), which has been found to be more accurate than body mass index (BMI) for identifying who should attempt to lose weight. Developed by University of Alberta researchers, it is modelled on staging systems that classify the extent and severity of other diseases such as cancer, mental illness and heart disease.