There seems to have been a swell (punny) in recent years of people claiming that being overweight or obese is not a bad thing.
Surely, we shouldn’t be walking around making fun of fat people. That’s just plain not nice.
But despite protestations to the contrary, being overweight really does mean being less healthy.
It’s common sense really. You become overweight by living an unhealthy lifestyle, so being overweight is going to be unhealthy.
Of course, common sense steers us wrong once in a while. So let’s turn to the science to be sure.
This particular science comes from one of our favorite types of scientific research – a meta study, titled “Are Metabolically Healthy Overweight and Obesity Benign Conditions?” The answer is a definitive no.
First the methods:
“Included studies evaluated all-cause mortality or cardiovascular events (or both) and clinical characteristics of 6 patient groups defined by BMI category (normal weight/overweight/obesity) and metabolic status (healthy/unhealthy).”
“Eight studies (n = 61 386; 3988 events) evaluated participants for all-cause mortality and/or cardiovascular events. “
In plain english: They reviewed 8 studies examining a total of 61,000 people for death rates and heart disease.
Here’s what they found:
“Metabolically healthy obese individuals (relative risk [RR], 1.24; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.55) had increased risk for events compared with metabolically healthy normal-weight individuals when only studies with 10 or more years of follow-up were considered.”
“Compared with metabolically healthy normal-weight individuals, obese persons are at increased risk for adverse long-term outcomes even in the absence of metabolic abnormalities, suggesting that there is no healthy pattern of increased weight.“
There you have it – no such thing as overweight and healthy. This is not license to ridicule overweight people. You could quietly (and privately) pass them this article though.
What Does This Mean for You?
If you’re the overweight one, now you know that you’re currently headed for an earlier exit from this fine planet than your leaner friends. You are also likely hurting your romantic prospects, and not getting as much happiness from life as you could be. You’re never going to be this young again – why spend that youth overweight?
If this sounds harsh – good. Maybe you need a little kick in the butt(s).
Because achieving and maintaining a healthy physique will improve your life immensely – and no one else is going to do it for you.