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Being Fat and Healthy (metabolically healthy)

Posted Sep 24 2012 7:50am

You know that saying, “Abs are made in the kitchen”? Recent research is saying that might not be 100% correct. Visual abs are made in the kitchen, but to be metabolically healthy comes from a pair of workout/running shoes.

Recently a study conducted by both US and European researchers found that overweight people had no more of a risk of dying from heart disease or cancer compared to normal weight people. The catcher…. this was only seen in overweight people who were considered metabolically fit despite their extra weight.

The study consisted of over 43 thousand participants who were taking part in an Aerobics Center long term study between 1979 to 2003 (a developmental psychologist dream! Just saying :) ). During their time at the center participants completed questionnaires about their lifestyle and medical history. They were also asked to undergo a physical exam, blood test, and a treadmill test to measure their fitness level. Participants BMI was measured based on their body fat percentage taken during hydrostatic weighing or skinfold measurements. During the study 1,779 died.

To be considered metabolically healthy a participant needed to show that they didn’t suffer from insulin resistance or diabetes, low cholesterol levels, and high triglycerides and blood pressure. Over half of those participating were classified as metabolically fit.

What researchers discovered was that participants who were labeled as obese but were also categorized as “metabolically healthy had 38% lower risk of early death from any cause”. It was actually reported that those who were Fat but metabolically healthy were no more likely to have a high risk of death than participants who were metabolically healthy and normal weight.

The research has shown that heavy set people can actually be healthier than those that are thin. For example people who diet but do not pair dieting with exercise may lose weight and be considered “healthy” but because their fitness levels do not match their thin exterior really doesn’t match their inner health. They are still carrying around visceral fat and no muscle. Metabolically, they are a thin unhealthy mess!

Food for thought… What would happen if we stopped correlating outside appearance with health especially for those that we see working out?
Being Metabolically Healthy is the New Skinny!
News articles can be read at HealthLand Time and CNN . The research can be read on the American Journal of Public Health .
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