May 17th 2017

Healthy obesity is not a harmless condition say scientists.  Having studied the health records of 3.5 million Britons they conclude that "healthy obesity" is a myth and having excess fat increases the risk of suffering heart disease by half even when blood pressure and cholesterol levels are normal.  People regarded as obese but healthy also have an increased risk of stroke and Type 2 diabetes.  


The researchers admit however that experts have long debated whether people can truly be "healthy obese" or "fat but fit", characterised by having normal markers of metabolic health despite having a body mass index [BMI] of 30 or more.  Whilst most people have an increased risk of developing heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes compared to those of moral weight, some seem to buck that trend and remain "healthy".


So what does the Forum think?  Can you be fat and fit?  We say, ask any group of rugby forwards who shift their bulk up and down a 100m field for 80 minutes and you'll get a "yes".   Ask scientists stuck in a lab and you might not.  Unfortunately, the Birmingham researchers appear not to have factored in recent genetic evidence that goes a long way to explaining why so many fat people appear not to suffer ill health.  These people have the ability to store large amounts of fat around their bodies yet remain fit.


And so the debate rages on!