New Study: Overweight and Active Is Still a Problem

Bathroom scales

A new study from the European Society of Cardiology bursts the bubble that you can be overweight and still healthy–what some refer to as “fat but fit.” [For the record, I find this language offensive, but it is the wording used in the report].

The report says that even if one is physically active, the risks from being overweight are not greatly diminished. Over a half-million people participated in the study; they were classified by BMI into three categories: normal weight, overweight, and obese. They were additionally classified as either active, insufficiently active, and inactive.

Perhaps the most significant finding was that irrespective of activity level, higher BMIs were associated with higher levels of disease. Overweight and obese participants were at greater cardiovascular risk no matter their level of activity. In particular, obese people (compared to those at normal weight) are still twice as likely to have high cholesterol, four times as likely to have diabetes, and five times as likely to have high blood pressure.

All that being said, there is also such a thing as being thin and unfit. Obviously, this is not a good thing either; however, the extra weight carries risks independent of physical activity. This does not negate the fact that the more activity the better. Controlling one’s weight and being physically active go hand-in-hand to achieve better health outcomes.

Here is an abstract of the report: https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/Being-fat-linked-with-worse-heart-health-even-in-people-who-exercise.