Fat Talk

Forget the fact that you may be a size 12 or 14 and can run laps around the smallest person, or can leg press over 300 lbs, or bench press half your body weight, or you don’t have any signs of pre-diabetes,  there’s new research out of Canada (remember they gave us Drake and Justin Bieber, can they be trusted?) that says there’s no such thing as “healthy obesity”.

Healthy obesity are those people who may qualify as obese, you know according to the acrhaic BMI chart,  even if their metabolic stats are healthy.  This week in the Annals (ha) of Internal Medicine, Canadian scientists from the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto said even without high blood pressure, diabetes or other metabolic issues, overweight and obese people have higher rates of death, heart attack and stroke after 10 years compared with their thinner counterparts.

“These data suggest that increased body weight is not a benign condition, even in the absence of metabolic abnormalities, and argue against the concept of healthy obesity or benign obesity,” said researcher Dr. Ravi Retnakaran, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Toronto.

 From The LA Times:

The latest study does less damage to the growing suspicion that it’s OK to be overweight – with a body mass index between 25 and 30 – if you’re metabolically healthy. On average, cardiovascular disease and death from any cause was not higher among the overweight-but-metabolically-healthy than it was for those of normal weight who were metabolically healthy.

But even those findings left the question open: There was a trend in that direction. But it was not so robust that the researchers could be confident it wasn’t a statistical fluke.

In the end, that trend may be the most significant finding of all. When researchers used BMI to line up all of the 61,386 subjects who participated in the eight studies they pooled, they found that, as BMI rose, so rose blood pressure, waist circumference and insulin resistance. As BMI increased, levels of HDL cholesterol, thought to protect against heart attack and stroke, decreased. Though overweight and obese subjects may not yet have reached the points that define metabolic illness, they appeared to be on that road as their weight rose.

“Increased BMI is not a benign condition, even in the absence of metabolic abnormalities,” the authors said.

In other “damned if you do, damned if you’re fat according to your BMI” news, Subway is running their $2.99 sandwich deal. Wake me up when research shows just because your BMI is “normal” doesn’t mean you’re not going to die eventually.


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  • Me

    thing is you got a bunch of fat folks talking about how they still can hold their own at the gym (probably just started running the past few months, but it really don’t matter), and how they know some skinny person who ain’t exercised in yrs that can’t do the same thing. OF COURSE anybody who ain’t been doing shit is gonna take time to get used to doing something different. it ain’t like fat folks used to be skinny folks who couldn’t run a mile right up until they gained that extra 50 lbs. it don’t work like that. if you carrying extra weight, EVEN IF YOU ***FINALLY*** GOT TO A POINT WHERE YOU CAN DO BASIC EXERCISES, your heart is working OVERTIME to do things it should never have to. running 10 miles with 50 lbs of extra fat around your heart and lungs is like using a ’96 honda civic to tow a tractor. yea, you can get it to go a little far, but if you want that engine to last you gon’ wanna drop that deadweight. staying fat should never be the goal, even if you can do some of the things skinny folks do. don’t just work out to “maintain” your level of fatness, push harder so you can drop them lbs. do y’all hate y’all hearts & lungs that much? just saying…

    • Frenchy5483

      Totally agree with “Me.”

      I am still carrying around weight that I haven’t been able to blame on “baby weight” for years, as my daughter is 3 years old. I’ve been inconsistent with going to the gym and running for years now but it never takes me long to get back to having pretty good endurance when I go back to running or doing other cardiovascular activities. I’ve ran with groups of women much tinier than me and I can even beat my 13 year old daughter and most are amazed at what looks to be my excellent level of fitness and/or the fact that I can’t beat them by a long shot. My level of endurance says nothing, however, about the amount of visceral fat I have compared to them which is the most important factor, or at least one of them. Yes, I’ve built up strength and can endure, years of yo yo dieting and inconsistent training will do that.

      It means nothing though if I have large amounts of fat choking the hell out of my internal organs where my tiny friends don’t. So.. Good try.. But no.

  • Lily

    So… That quite from the LA times basically said “metabolically healthy over weight people seem to die and be diseased in the same proportion as metabolically healthy normal weight people. But we can’t accept that so actual it’s probably not true and this study was flawed. Obviously.”

    What is worst about all this fat scare-mongering is, in all the faux concern and cries of “what about your health!” The mental health of the fat people being shamed to attempt weight loss is never considered. It really messes with you to be told, constantly and in a thousand little ways, that your body is wrong and you are flawed and wrong for having it. For most of my life extreme exercise and dieting didn’t make me lose weight. But doctors would look at my carefully kept food logs and exercise logs, and dismiss it out of hand as a lie, because I was still fat. No one dug deeper, no one bothered to see if there was a REASON a college freshman was gaining weight while spending an hour a day at the gym, with a personal trainer, and eating 1600 calories a day. There was a reason, it turns out, and now that major health issue is resolved, I have been losing weight. Without trying very hard, actually.

    I can pass for average size now, at 5’10” and a size 14/16. The BMI, flawed and ridiculous as it is, still says I’m obese, but my waist to hip and waist to height ratios are healthy, and metabolically I couldn’t be healthier. But health is not an obligation. The only reason doctors take me seriously now is the fact I’ve lost around 25% of my body weight. I’m still the same person with the same underlying conditions, why are you treating me like a human only after I get smaller? Even if I weighed over 300lbs still, and had the very high cholesterol I’d had since I was seven (don’t anymore) I’m still worthy of respect and basic human decency.

    Health is not an obligation, nor should it be a measure of worth. Health, so often, is outside our control. And weight is too. Shaming people into losing weight just makes everyone feel bad, and sickens our world without helping anyone feel better.