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There is strong research showing fat people can be healthy and fit

Joanne Ikeda

The publicity about the obesity epidemic has convinced many people that being overweight or obese is unhealthy, and the only way to achieve health is to lose weight.  The problem is that long term weight loss is a very elusive goal for most people.  It is estimated that less than 5% of individuals who lose weight, are able to maintain that weight loss permanently.  The other 95% usually regain the weight, and far too often, they regain more than they originally lost.  So what is a health professional to do about this situation, especially when there is research showing that repeated weight cycling can increase risk of chronic disease?

Many health professionals are going beyond the scale to determine what kind of advice to offer to patients.  They are relying upon metabolic indicators to determine a person’s health status.  What are these metabolic indicators?  They are familiar to most of us as they include blood pressure; serum cholesterol, HDLs and LDLs; insulin resistance; fasting plasma glucose; and C-reactive protein levels.  These are considered the most accurate indicators of a person’s health status.   Doctors collect this information whenever they give an adult his or her annual medical check-up.

Interestingly, data from a cross-sectional sample of 5440 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination survey, found that half of overweight adults and almost one-third of obese adults were metabolically healthy.  Of course, that means that half of overweight and two thirds of obese adults were not healthy.  What does this tell us?  It tells us that health is possible for both obese and overweight adults, and that being fat does not automatically doom one to a shortened lifespan and increase risk of chronic disease.    In other words, it is possible to be fat and fit.  Of course that does not happen without effort.   Research published over the past 15 years indicates that those who are fat and fit practice healthy lifestyles.  They are physically active, eat a nutrient dense diet, and get enough sleep.   So, if you are one of those “larger” people who are worried about your health, focus on improving it by adopting a healthier lifestyle.  After making changes, ask your physcian to reevaluate your health to determine what improvements you have made in your metabolic fitness.   Studies show that your chances of improving your health are quite good.

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Comments to "There is strong research showing fat people can be healthy and fit":
    • Aaron

      I weigh 288 pounds stand 6′ 2″. I have a belly but I can run faster then most of my family. I don’t have much endurance. I can workout for 2 hours straight no problems. I don’t smoke drink or do drugs. I workout 3 to 4 times a week 1 and a half hour weight resistance with cardio post workout for 20 minutes. I eat 3500 cals a day. People envy me and tell me they wish they had my strength and size. Why? I’m fat… Makes no sense to me… I’m told I’m unhealthy by some people but my doctor says I have amazing blood circulation plus no other problems. I’m always physical can’t help not being physical. My grandma says I’m unhealthy but seriously I would rather be myself vs some skinny bastard plus women love being held and have their man not struggle to pick them up. Honestly I love myself I could careless what some ill advised retard says.

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    • BionicWoman

      My dear Mandy (Nov. 18,2011 post), you obviously have to learn that not all fat people have a SELF-ESTEEM issue. It is Hollywood and in the United States that “being a size 0 is so important”. A person who has a negative body image got that way a long time before. Did you know ANOREXIC FEMALES have a negative body image about themselves…thinking because of the “STUPID MEDIA” that they are fat, and in fact they are killing themselves by not eating, hurting their heart by purging and basically starving themselves..so where is the positive body image. Most people who I know that are on the heavy side are quite content with themselves. You have to stop thinking this way and turn your life over to God!!!

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    • BionicWoman

      Based on what is “fit”, yadda, yadda, yadda…Dr. Oz did an experiment on his show last year. He had two women supposedly work out. One woman was on the thin side. The other woman was on the thick side. So which woman held out for the long haul endurance of the workout and the agility test? The thick woman worked out five days a week at her own pace. The thin woman did not work out because she felt that with her being thin, she doesn’t have to be “heart healthy”, etc. It’s a misconception to think that only “fat people” have medical issues. I know so many, so many super thin people who have far more “medical issues” related to their thinness than folks who are not. Get real people.

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    • MGHQ

      A fat person can be healthy (in a sense) but cannot be fit. A fat person can be strong (not proportionately) but a fat person will never be able to complete a training program as well as someone who is fit, i.e. someone who is fat completing a military course with poor time and less than desirable results in comparison with someone who is fit. The world’s strongest men are not fat however as someone else claimed. A person who weighs 300 pounds and has 10% body fat is going to be stronger than someone who weighs 300 pounds who has 25% body fat.

      If you’re eating nutrient dense meals, exercising, and getting plenty of rest then you can be fat and healthy. If you wish to lose weight, you need to consume less calories than your burning. In other words, you’re eating too much and you’re more than likely slowing down your metabolism with bad eating habits i.e eating fewer but larger portion meals. If you’re looking to forward your fat but healthy lifestyle. Metabolically, it’s healthier to eat more meals of smaller proportion(4-6). This will help burn fat and build more lean muscle. Do research on ways to naturally speed up your metabolism as this is only one.

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    • NG

      What does this tell us? It tells us that health is possible for both obese and overweight adults, and that being fat does not automatically doom one to a shortened lifespan and increased risk of chronic disease. In other words, it is possible to be fat and fit.

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    • Güvenlik Kameraları

      Being physically healthy is very subjective. The article mentioned that there are overweight people but does not necessarily mean unhealthy. There are even slim people who are insanely unhealthy. I guess it a matter of lifestyle. How we lead our lives dictates if we are living healthily or not.

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    • jiujiujiuj

      Sumo wrestlers are extremely strong, some of the strongest people on earth, yet they are extremely fat. If you watch world’s strongest man, those people have big strong muscles, but they’re covered in loads of fat. Many of the strongest people on earth are fat, but their muscles are under the fat. Don’t judge a book by its cover.

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    • gardener st albans

      I quite agree that a healthly lifestyle is key to helping you control your weight but I think genes and body type play a big role on the way we are. People who are overweight through the generations tend to have stronger heart muscles for example to handle the additional weight.. It’s all a matter of debate really as to who is right or wrong.

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    • jamal

      take no medications, do not have high blood pressure, no heart trouble in the family, do not have ANY health problems, eat 90% vegetarian, have a physically demanding job, but “must” be unhealthy becasue I weigh a bit more than what the insurance charts say I should.

      Overall health is not just about the physical, it is also about the meantal, and that should not be over looked.

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    • Candace Ross

      I am a healthy “fat” person who is being charged 25% more for my health insurance based entirely on what I weigh. I am 60 years old, take no medications, do not have high blood pressure, no heart trouble in the family, do not have ANY health problems, eat 90% vegetarian, have a physically demanding job, but “must” be unhealthy becasue I weigh a bit more than what the insurance charts say I should.
      I have 90 days to appeal and you darn well know I’m going to.
      There are plenty of thin people out there getting a better rate who are sick. Weight alone does not determine good health.

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    • Mandy

      I think your right about people who are over weight can be somewhat healthy but what about the emotional affects on that person. Low selfesteem, negative body image, and depression. Overall health is not just about the physical, it is also about the meantal, and that should not be over looked.

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