Can One Be Fat and Still be Healthy?

There is no doubt that having a healthy body-weight is a good sign. However, recently there has been a campaign that defends the right to be fat and for people to accept people despite their body weight and type. That is probably why many advertisers now regularly feature overweight women in their commercials promoting all types of products including health supplements and vitamins.

While there is nothing wrong with defending equality and discouraging bullying of obese and overweight people, promoting the perception that if you are overweight and exercise regularly, you are going to be free of health problems is not exactly accurate.

In the medical community, there is still debate about being fat and healthy at the same time. While healthcare workers do promote exercise for good health, they do not recommend being overweight. In fact, many doctors believe that you cannot be healthy if you are fat and it seems they are right.

Findings from a large study revealed that even when overweight people are free of any acute health problems, they are still more likely to develop some type of heart problem compared to people who are not obese or overweight, irrespective of whether they exercise. In this study, overweight participants were free of high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol and yet they were still at risk for heart disease.

Experts state that people who are obese will continue to be at risk for stroke, heart attacks, and heart failure. The study suggests that obesity by itself is an independent risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that there is no such thing as a healthy obese heart.

Proponents of a healthy heart and obesity say that this study is flawed. They contend that the data did not capture the lifestyle and nutritional status and also did not distinguish between muscle and fat. Plus, the study did not take into account level of physical activity of obese individuals.

However, the controversy does not end there. While many studies have found a higher rate of congestive heart failure in overweight and obese people, the story is different when it comes to coronary artery disease. Some experts suggest that both physical fitness and body weight are important and have to be considered. In fact in these patients, fitness appears to be more important than fatness; meaning that if fat or obese people exercised, then that would help prevent coronary artery disease.

While the controversy continues, most healthcare workers recommend that it is important to eat healthy and exercise regularly. While a few obese individuals may have a healthy heart, by far the majority have adverse cardiac events sooner or later in life. Obesity is not a benign illness and one should not get swayed by the recent positive reports-because they can be misleading.