There is an overwhelming presumption in our country that if an individual is overweight they are also unhealthy. Research clearly supports that being overweight is a major health risk factor, contributing to an increase in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and many types of cancer. So can we assume that if you are hauling around extra pounds that classify you as overweight or obese, it will destine you to a future filled with illness and disease? Well, not necessarily
I found a few studies on the fat versus fit argument. One study conducted by the Cooper Institute, a nonprofit organization in Dallas, Texas. They argue that not only is it possible to be both fat and fit, but fitness is actually a more significant measure of health than body weight. In a study of 22,000 men ages 30–83, the researchers measured subjects’ body composition (the proportion of fat to muscle) and put them through treadmill tests. They concluded that if you are fit, being overweight doesn’t increase mortality risk.
Results of studies done by Mary Fran Sowers and Judith Wylie, obesity researchers at the University of Michigan, showed that thin, unfit people could develop heart-related problems that fat but fit people often do not. Kelly Brownell, Director of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders, concluded in a 2003 study that heavy people that are fit have a lower risk of heart disease than thin people who are unfit. With all of this information, what does it mean for individuals who are overweight, but active, and not displaying many of the measurements of increased health risk? Should the emphasis be on taking the pounds off, improving fitness, or both?
There is no debate that taking off excess pounds improves health. It is a well known documented fact that losing as little as 5% of overall body weight results in significant improvement in the markers that determine health. In addition, it is true that manipulating dietary intake results in faster weight loss than exercise alone. We certainly know that the best approach is dietary changes and exercise together. Nevertheless, this total overhaul of lifestyle can be overwhelming and extremely difficult for people to adopt. It takes patience, perseverance, support, and education. Not everyone is ready to embark on all of these changes at once. Best wishes to Gov. Christie and his health.
So, BIG (yes, pun intended) news this week. Governor Chris Christy (R-New Jersey), the next media appointed Presidential candidate-apparent, is fat. He went on David Letterman this week, ate a doughnut, announced he wasn’t on a diet and said he was healthy. Now, news reports are saying that a doctor has made her opinion known that she would have to think twice before voting for Christy for president. She claims that Christy, being overweight, would be more suseptible to a heart attack during his administration. Frankly, I agree. Let’s be real here. His weight has made him more likely to suffer from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. Those are the medical facts. It may be a stereotype, but that’s the truth based on the evidence. Now, Christy is bad mouthing the doctor because she has never examined him and doesn’t know his family medical history and therefore she…
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