Obese people who are otherwise healthy are still more likely to have their lives cut short by fatal diseases, researchers have warned – concluding that being ‘fat but fit’ is impossible.
A new study from the University of Birmingham looked at whether or not an overweight person who does not have diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol is just as fit as a person with a healthy weight.
But it found that they are more likely to develop heart failure, coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, which causes strokes.
The new report adds to a slew of evidence showing that even being ‘fat but fit’ is not achievable, and scientists are warning that using the term is misleading and dangerous.
Obese people who are otherwise healthy are more likely to have their lifespans shortened by heart failure, coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, a University of Birmingham study has found
WHO HAS A HIGHER RISK OF BECOMING OBESE?
Obesity can be caused by eating disorders that are influenced by behavioral factors.
But hormonal and genetic factors can also cause a person to have an increased risk of becoming obese.
Obesity occurs when a person consumes more calories than they burn through exercise and normal daily activities over a period of time.
The two most effective measures that a person can take to ward of obesity are diet and exercise.
However, weight-loss medications and surgeries are also popular among patients who are severely obese.
But if a person takes a weight-loss medication without dieting and exercising, it is not likely that their obesity will be treated.
Weight-loss pills are meant to be used in conjunction with healthy lifestyle changes, not used as an alternative to them.
Researchers observed four different groups of three-and-a-half million people for the study, which is the biggest of its kind in debunking the ‘fat but fit’ myth so far.
Participants were categorized based on their BMIs.
‘Underweight’ people had a BMI of less than 18.5, participants with a ‘normal weight’ had a BMI between 18 and 25, those of ‘overweight’ people fell between 25 and 30 and obese people had a BMI of 30 or higher.
Scientists collected data on the patients for a little more than five years.
While the study’s participants were initially healthy, researchers found that obese people were 96 percent more likely to develop heart failure.
They were also about 50 percent more likely to develop coronary artery disease – a symptom of which is high cholesterol – and 7 percent more likely to develop cerebrovascular disease.
Previous research has claimed that up to one in three obese people are ‘healthy’ despite carrying too much weight, which led to widespread use of the term ‘fat but fit’.
But the new study, published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, provides evidence that there is no such thing.
Researchers who worked on the study are urging doctors not to ignore the increased risks of cardiovascular disease for patients who seem healthy but are obese.
And study author Dr Rishi Caleyachetty said doctors should take it one step further and stop using the term ‘fat but fit’ altogether since it is misleading.
He said: ‘Metabolically healthy obesity is not a harmless condition, and it would be incorrect to think so. It’s actually better not to use this term as it can create a lot of confusion.’
The CDC has estimated that about 36 percent of US adults are obese. Black Americans are most likely to be obese, followed by Hispanics, white people and Asians.
Middle-age and older Americans are more likely to be obese than younger adults. And high-income families have a decreased risk of obesity compared to low-income families.
The US spends hundreds of millions of dollars on treating obesity-related ailments each year and the medical costs for obese people are about $1,500 more per year than those for healthy people.