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Fat and healthy? A new study says no and you should still lose weight

Posted May 18, 2017

There is a strong social movement for fat acceptance. Members of this movement are trying to convince people that it is ok to be overweight and you should not listen to health advices and specialists who are trying to convince people that only normal weight is healthy. Now, however, scientists from the University of Birmingham revealed that “fat and healthy” is just a myth.

Healthy, happy and obese at the same time? Scientists are shaking their heads. Image credit: Mallinaltzin via Wikimedia (CC BY 3.0)

Of course, it is not pleasant to hear people saying that your lifestyle choices are going to bring an early death. However, doctors are fighting obesity for a reason. This study showed that even seemingly healthy obese people are still at higher risk of heart failure or stroke. This research is the largest of its kind, involving data of 3.5 million people from across the UK from 1995 to 2015. Scientists wanted to address the concept of “healthy obesity” – can people whose BMI is larger than 30 have normal markers of metabolic health.

So what scientists were looking for? They looked at markers of being metabolically healthy, having normal blood pressure and cholesterol and no diabetes, while also being obese. Researchers also paid attention to such conditions as coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, heart failure and peripheral vascular disease. Results were less than surprising – “healthy and obese” people had a 49% increased risk of coronary heart disease, a 7% higher risk of stroke, and a 96% increased risk of heart failure compared to people with normal weight.

The movement to accept fat people as they are really should remain on course with the facts. People should not be bullied for their looks, but at the same time everyone has to know that large BMI and waist circumference is really bad news for one’s health. Dr Rishi Caleyachetty, lead author of the study, said: “The idea of being healthily obese is a myth. Our work shows that so-called ‘metabolically healthy’ obese individuals are still at higher risk of coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and heart failure than normal weight metabolically healthy individuals”.

This is very important for health professionals. Even if the person seems to be healthy and happy, doctors should advise him to lose weight. Exercising and eating better would soon pay off with reduced risk of premature death.


Source: University of Birmingham

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