Being “fat and fit” is a myth, study says


By Richard Tardif


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Big is beautiful, fat but fit, big-boned, healthy at any size – all of them are big fat myths, says a study, recommending people should aim to maintain a body weight within a healthy range, or die early.

“The research shows that those overweight individuals who appear to be otherwise healthy are still at increased risk of heart disease,” says lead author Dr. Camille Lassale. “Our findings suggest that if a patient is overweight or obese, all efforts should be made to help them get back to a healthy weight. Even if their blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol appear within the normal range, excess weight is still a risk factor.”

Is this yet another study that may be changing the way we think about obesity?

See Richard’s story about the “New Obesity”

This one analyzed the health records of over 520,000 adults in 10 different countries in Europe, and later followed up with 7,637 adults who had developed heart disease after a 12-year period.

Overweight and obese people who were considered metabolically unhealthy, meaning they had three or more risk factors like high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low “good” cholesterol, high blood sugar, or high waist circumference, had more than double the chances of getting heart disease than normal-weight people without those factors.


It’s not the first study
A larger study in May examining 3.5 million subjects, 61,000 with heart disease, from 1995 to 2015, found that people who are obese have a higher risk of stroke, heart disease and heart failure — even when they don’t have traditional warning signs of such things like high blood pressure or diabetes.

“This is the largest prospective study of the association between metabolically health obesity and cardiovascular disease events,” Rishi Caleyachetty, one of the study authors, says. “Metabolically healthy obese individuals are at higher risk of coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and heart failure than normal weight metabolically healthy individuals.”

But a 2012 study said people can be obese yet physically healthy and fit and at no greater risk of heart disease or cancer than normal weight people, researchers of a 2012 study say. This study looked at data from over 43,000 US people and found that being overweight did not pose a big health risk.

The key, according to the study, is being “metabolically fit”, meaning no high blood pressure, cholesterol or raised blood sugar, and exercising in gym t-shirts.

Health is more than just physical.
“Healthy people assume that everyone chooses to be healthy or not healthy but so many people don’t understand what to do and what to eat in order to be healthy,” says Sarah Khatri, Nutrition and Health Coach.

“We live in a society where everyone wants to make money. The food manufacturers care about making sales, not about making the population healthy. The key is to stay away from processed foods but many people may not understand how to do that.”

Saying and believing that all sizes can be beautiful is about accepting one self and this is something that is so important for mental health.

“If we are saying that only thin people are healthy and beautiful, then we are accepting that people will feel bad about themselves and this is not going to motivate them to get healthy,” says Khatri.


Richard Tardif is a personal fitness trainer, life coach and health journalist who has been writing about health and wellness for over 20 years. As someone who has struggled with his own weight issues, Richard’s mission is to shed light on the misinformation propagated by the fitness industry, and empower people to take back responsibility for their health. He is also finalizing his debut book, Stop the Denial: A Case for Embracing the Truth about Fitness
, published by Smiling Eye Press. Please visit his website
or email Richard at