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Can You Be Fat and Healthy?

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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. It offers five stages of obesity based on both traditional physical measurements such as BMI and waist-to-hip ratio, plus clinical measurements that reflect medical conditions often caused or aggravated by obesity (such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease).

Kuk stresses that in order to determine whether or not they should lose weight, individuals should see a physician to be evaluated using the EOSS criteria.

In my opinion (and a mountain of other research), excess body fat (especially belly fat) is the real danger to your health. You can be skinny and still have high body fat. If you don’t do regular strength training, you probably have high body fat. Fat loss is more important than weight loss. Never base your exercise program success on weight loss. Check your body fat to see where you are fat.

In a Mayo Clinic article, “Can You Be Considered Obese if You Have a Normal Body Weight?” the focus is placed on body fat.

Here are two excerpts from the Mayo Clinic article:

1. Yes. You can have a normal weight, but if your body fat percentage is high enough, you may be considered obese — a situation known as normal weight obesity. Normal weight obesity means you may have the same serious health risks as does someone who's obese. Obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of body fat — not as weighing too much.

A formula called body mass index (BMI) is used to determine whether you're at a healthy weight for your height. But BMI doesn't tell the whole story because it doesn't measure body fat. So you may have a normal BMI while your body fat percentage is high enough to increase health risks.

2. Like obesity, normal weight obesity may increase your risk of serious health problems, including:

· Heart disease

· Diabetes

· Abnormal cholesterol level, in which your triglyceride level is high, but your HDL ("good") cholesterol level is low

· High blood pressure

· Metabolic syndrome

My message to you is it's always wise to take the safest route in any situation. Common sense tells us what "complete research" has already proven: If you remain overfat or normal weight obese, you are at great risk to have serious health problems which could lead to your death.

Keep working to burn body fat and lean out your body. You will feel and look your best.


Medical News Today article, “Study Finds That It's Possible To Be Fat And Healthy” lead author Jennifer Kuk, assistant professor in York's School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health.

The study, "Edmonton Obesity Staging System: Association with Weight History and Mortality Risk," is co-authored by Chris Ardern, Assistant Professor, York University; Timothy S. Church, Director of the Laboratory of Preventive Medicine, Pennington Biomedical Research Center; Arya M. Sharma, Professor of Medicine & Chair in Obesity Research and Management at the University of Alberta, and Scientific Director of the Canadian Obesity Network; Raj Padwal, Associate Professor, University of Alberta; Xuemei Sui, Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina; and Steven N. Blair, Professor, University of South Carolina. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/232807.php

Mayo Clinic article, “Can You Be Considered Obese if You Have a Normal Body Weight?” Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES, CPT is a Certified Personal Trainer and former NCAA Division I athlete. Mark is the owner of My Fitness Hut, Her Fitness Hut, Sports Fitness Hut and My Nutrition Hut. Mark’s Fat Blaster Athletic Training System has been proven to give his clients the fit, sculpted and athletic-type bodies they want. Visit Mark’s main site:
Your Fitness University

Reviewed on August 23, 2011
by Maryann Gromisch
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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