Can people be healthy and obese?
Health and obesity are mutually exclusive, according to a new study by researchers from the Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto. Data from previously published studies involving over 60,000 people was revisited to see whether there could actually be a ‘healthy pattern of obesity.’ The answer was that obese people who are otherwise considered to be ‘healthy’ are still at an increased risk of suffering of weight-related heart problems, including death. This view is supported by experts such as James Hill and Dr. Holly Wyatt, of the University of Colorado, who content that obesity should be treated like a disease in and of itself.
It has been argued in the past that obese people who don’t have metabolic problems like high cholesterol, blood pressure or blood sugar levels, can be deemed as healthy as their thinner counterparts. However, study leader Dr. Ravi Retnakaran found that so-called ‘healthy’ obese individuals had 24% more chances of suffering a heart attack or die in the span of decade than people with a normal weight and no metabolic issues.
Not everyone agrees with that conclusion, though. Assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance in Boston Dr. Pieter Cohen says that metabolic conditions are greater risk factors than weight, among other criticisms. And in fact the Toronto study determined that, in general, people who were not metabolically healthy were more at risk of heart disease and death, whether or not they had a normal weight or were obese.
While Dr. Cohen does have a point, this is not a matter of who is right and who is wrong. Even if obesity is not tantamount to a death sentence, it’s still a known heart disease risk factor. When it comes to matters of health, a holistic approach is better. What that means is watching your weight, monitoring your cholesterol and blood pressure, not smoking, following a nutritious diet and an exercise regime; in a nutshell, lifestyle changes that will make you feel and look better.
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