Studies Suggest Not All Obese People Are Unhealthy

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While many people believe that obese men and women are in poor health and have a greater risk of dying, two recent studies suggest that appearances can be deceiving. 

"Our study challenges the idea that all obese individuals need to lose weight," Dr. Jennifer Kuk, assistant professor in York University's School of Kinesiology & Health Science in Toronto, said in a statement. "Moreover, it's possible that trying - and failing - to lose weight may be more detrimental than simply staying at an elevated body weight and engaging in a healthy lifestyle that includes physical activity and a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables."

One study, published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, compared the death rates of 6,000 obese people to the death rates of 6,000 thin people and found that skinny people have the same mortality rate as fat people with little to no obesity-related health problems. 

A second study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that that body mass index (BMI) alone does not determine who dies early. It seems not everyone with a high BMI suffers from serious health issues.

“You're going to have to look at additional risk factors,” said Dr. Arya Sharma, the study’s lead author.

Of course, the results of these studies do not mean that obese men and women should stop exercising and start eating whatever they want, or even assume they have nothing to worry about. Sadly, only one in five overweight people are classified as “healthy obese,” that is obese without any health problems. Though doctors are not sure why some obese people are healthy and others are not, they believe good genes, diet, and exercise are behind this puzzling phenomenon.

Sources: CBS News, CNN

Photo: morgueFile

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