“Fat but fit” is one of those quasi-scientific slogans we keep hearing but no-one has bothered to check in detail. That is, until now, because scientists say the myth has been busted.
Research has found that regular exercisers who are also obese have a higher risk of dying early than slim unfit people.
For the study, a team of Swedish researchers evaluated 1.3 million men, an analysis that revealed obese people who are physically active were still 30 percent more likely to die before their slim, sedentary counterparts.
After monitoring the men for 30 years, the researchers concluded that being the right weight is by far the more important factor for long-term health than having high levels of aerobic fitness.
Published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the findings have debunked the myth that being fit compensates for being obese. In relation to reducing the risk of early death, researchers discovered that a normal body mass index early in life carries more weight than being physically fit.
Previous studies have suggested that obese individuals who were regular exercisers didn’t present a greater risk of developing a potentially deadly illness than people of normal weight. However, the new research – the largest of its kind – brings different proof.
Based on 18 year old Swedish military conscripts, the study started with testing the participants’ aerobic fitness by having them cycle until they had to stop due to fatigue. The follow-up period averaged at 29 years.
According to Peter Nordstrom, professor at the Umea University, Sweden, the findings specifically challenge the idea that plenty of exercise is enough to compensate the risk of mortality caused by obesity.
The world usually thinks that no other country deals with such worrying levels of obesity as the United States, but statistics shows roughly two thirds of Britons are either overweight or obese. England’s chief medical officer suggested in a recent statement that obesity is almost as threatening to the country as terrorism.
Women are particularly encouraged to slim down, said Prof. Dame Sally Davies, worried that rising levels of obesity in pregnancy have the ability to jeopardize the health of future generations. So bad is the situation that it’s threatening to “overwhelm the NHS and cripple society’s productivity.”
In spite of the increasingly bad stats regarding child obesity, David Cameron has so far declined to respond to the many calls for the introduction of a “sugar tax” on foods and sugary drinks.
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