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Is it better to be overweight and active than thin and sedentary?

Published : Wednesday February 29, 2012 | Posted in : General Health
active running woman

Over the last decade there have been various studies questioning whether being thin should be the ultimate goal of someone looking to lead a long and happy life and the results have been, to say the least, rather conflicting. The last thing health experts would want to do is to endorse the idea that weight loss is simply not necessary, however there are many studies that show that it’s far better to be a little overweight than underweight. The truth is that thin isn't necessarily healthy and that the key to a true healthy weight is multi-faceted.

Overweight but not obese

Not everybody who is overweight or obese will die an early death, however it’s been proven that people who are overweight or obese are more at risk of developing certain health problems than others. However, what about people that are overweight and obese and perfectly healthy? Some experts are of the opinion that these people are simply metabolically healthy and slightly less prone to developing health problems; however it’s possible that long term obesity may still cause problems regardless of a person’s health, so it’s always a good idea to make an effort to lose any additional weight as soon as possible.

Activity is the key

Humans are meant to be active, and that’s a fact. I am not saying that everybody should be able to run a marathon within an hour’s notice, but simply being stationary won’t do either. A 2005 study conducted in the US illustrated when scientists observed that thin people who were active were far healthier than their peers who chose to keep exercise to the bare minimum.

This could explain why there are those that are considered overweight with perfectly healthy hearts and arteries. It could also have something to do with where the fat is accumulated, as it’s more dangerous to have fat around your mid-section than other parts of the body. This is because this type of fat is far more metabolically active, which means that it releases particular inflammatory molecules that is a contributory fact to creating insulin resistance, high blood pressure and diabetes.

This type of fat is best targeted by simply being aerobically more active. This doesn't mean that you have to tone and sculpt your body, but simply be more active. Although a study has shown that doing a regular sit-ups can benefit this type of weight loss, people who super-charged their metabolism with the help of exercise that got them out of breath were far more successful in dealing with belly fat.

The BMI scale

Although the BMI scale is an extremely useful medical tool to help doctors establish whether you are healthy or not, it shouldn't be used on its own. Just imagine a short yet muscular man’s BMI. He’d be quite heavy, considering muscle and in combination with his height, it would seem like his BMI is higher than it should be. This is why you also need to take into consideration waist measurements and other health factors.

So to conclude, I don’t think that being thin and super toned should be the goal of every single person. I just think, although I am sounding like a broken record, that it’s about being as active and as healthy as you can be, and to challenge your body every now and then, always aiming to be a little healthier than you currently are.

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