Being Skinny Doesn’t Mean Being Healthy 4

Being skinny doesn't mean you are healthy!

Being Skinny Doesn’t Mean Being Healthy

“Being skinny isn’t an accomplishment-it’s a result of youth and or unhealthy lifestyle. Being strong, toned and lean is an accomplishment.”– Author

In today’s society, especially for women, being skinny is seen as the Holy Grail for most people interested in losing weight.  The media bombards us with an incessant barrage of ultra thin models, Photoshopped to look even skinnier than they are in order to advertise everything from clothing to cars while medical experts continuously trumpet the reduction of risk of metabolic related diseases by being thinner. Without question, being thin today is seen both medically and socially as an asset, but the real question remains, can you be on the larger side and still be in good health? The reality, outside of selling fat burning supplements diet pills, tummy tucks and liposuction is that getting fit is far more effective at reducing the markers for type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease than by just being thin.

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You Can Be Overweight And In Better Health Than Someone That Is In A Healthy Weight Range

According to a study conducted at the University of Exeter in the U.K., longevity and good health comes far more from your activity levels than by simply being thin. The study observed the health of four groups of adult males, those who were thin and in good physical condition, those who were thin and in poor physical condition, those who were overweight but in good physical condition and those who were overweight and in poor physical condition. What was important for the relevance of this study in the real world is that everyone in the fit groups were long term exercisers and not just a group of people put on an exercise program for the purpose of the study. Blood sampling revealed an interesting fact: that both groups that were in good physical condition had significantly higher hdl (good cholesterol) levels than the unfit groups.

Visceral Abdominal Fat Levels Are Lower In Overweight People Who Exercise Regularly

What was also significant is that the visceral abdominal fat and liver fat, which have been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (see my article on the dangers of visceral abdominal fat) was far lower in the overweight group of men in good shape than the overweight group of inactive men even though their body fat percentages were the about the same.  So although someone might be classified as being overweight because their Body Mass Index (BMI) is on the higher side and they have a higher body fat percentage as long as they consistently engage in intensive regular exercise it appears that they will not have a dangerous visceral fat distribution around their internal organs. At the end of the day a low fitness level is a far greater threat to your health even though you might be thin and svelte.

The Biggest Predictor Of Mortality Is Fitness Levels Not BMI

You can be overweight and still be fit!

Overweight but fit people are often healthier than their slimmer counterparts!

The study at Exeter University isn’t the only one that has come to these conclusions, a study here in the U.S. of 5,400 adults found that half of those classified as overweight and one third of those classified as obese according to BMI standards were found to be metabolically healthy. That means that they did not have any indicators that might suggest a predisposition to health problems. The study also found that a quarter of those that fell into the ‘healthy’ weight range had at least two risk factors for cardiovascular disease. A 12 year study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that looked at mortality rates among 2,600 adults aged 60 and over found that while death rates were highest among the very obese (those with a BMI of 35 or higher), fitness level was always the strongest predictor of mortality risk, not BMI. Those who scored the lowest on treadmill tests were four times more likely to die in the next 12 years than those who had high fitness levels.

Regular Exercise Is Far More Important Than Simply Being Thin

The message is simple- looking good is great but the key to longevity and good health is regular exercise. Keep that in mind the next time you look in the mirror and don’t quite see the six pack you might want to see- by exercising regularly and watching what you eat you’ll live longer and be in better shape that someone who may be skinny but is inactive. Keep training!
Related Articles:

Skinny Isn’t An Ideal- Evolutionary Arguments Against Being Thin
Kevin Richardson is the creator of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training 10 Minute Workouts™ and one of the most sought after personal trainers in New York City. Get a copy of his free weight loss ebook here.