Obese people can be physically healthy and fit and at no greater risk of heart disease or cancer than normal weight people, a new research found.
The key is being “metabolically fit”, meaning no high blood pressure, cholesterol or raised blood sugar, and exercising, according to experts.
Looking at data from over 43,000 US people they found that being overweight per se did not pose a big health risk.
The results are published in the European Heart Journal.
In the study at the University of South Carolina, more than a third of the participants were obese.
Of these 18,500, half were assessed as metabolically healthy after a physical examination and lab tests.
Obese people can be physically healthy and fit and at no greater risk of heart disease or cancer than normal weight people
This subset of metabolically healthy obese people who did not suffer from conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, were generally fitter and exercised more than the other obese people.
And their risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer was identical to people of ideal weight and was half that of “metabolically less fit” obese people.
Lead researcher Dr. Francisco Ortega, who currently works at the University of Granada in Spain, said the findings show that getting more exercise can keep you healthier, even if you still carry a bit of extra weight.
“This research highlights once again the important role of physical fitness as a health marker.”
Most of the men and women in the study came from a similar background, meaning the results may not apply to everyone. They were mostly Caucasian, well educated, and worked in executive or professional positions.
The 650lb Virgin David Smith’s transformation to handsome personal trainer – with a doting girlfriend – made headlines in 2009.
In a sad turn of events, David Smith, 35, from Phoenix, Arizona, revealed yesterday that he is once again morbidly obese, having re-gained over 250 of the 400 lbs he lost.
In an interview on Wednesday morning, David Smith admitted that by putting on weight at this rate, his life was at risk.
He told the Today show: “I’ve gained more than 250 lbs in two years, and with all that extra weight so quickly added to my body, I don’t know how I’m still living right now… The way I’m going, I’m not going to live for too much longer.”
He added that he could already feel his health deteriorating.
“You know when your body’s making a turn for the worse,” David Smith said.
“I felt it before when I was 650 lbs, and I’m feeling it again at 500.”
David Smith revealed that his slide back into an unhealthy lifestyle was because he could not come to terms with this newly-slim self, and though he had been outwardly thriving, he was struggling within.
“I wasn’t doing too well. I looked really good on the outside, but inside I was a terrible mess,” he said.
“All my life I was this monster in my head and all of a sudden, to be this good looking guy, it blew my mind away. I didn’t know how to deal with it.”
David Smith revealed yesterday that he is once again morbidly obese, having re-gained over 250 of the 400 lbs he lost
He was also troubled by the multiple surgeries that had failed to entirely remove the excess skin on his body, leaving him scarred and disappointed with his appearance.
David Smith turned to alcohol and drugs for a brief time, but eventually found solace in food, the old demon that had caused his weight to spiral out of control the first time.
“I’d eat in my car before I’d get home, or if everybody was out I’d eat something really quick then throw it away before they’d come home,” he admitted.
“It was tough. A lot of people were counting on me to be inspiring, and I didn’t want to let anybody down, but I just felt so bad. I didn’t know how to cope.”
The side-effects of his ballooning weight were multiple. Embarrassed by his failure to keep in shape, David Smith became withdrawn. He lost his job, and his friendship with his own trainer suffered. Terrified that he would also lose girlfriend Megan, he admitted that he even contemplated suicide.
Breaking down as he spoke of his girlfriend, David Smith said: “Her support means the world to me. I love her so much, and I know I put her through a lot. She’s stayed by my side through everything.”
But Megan insists she is going nowhere, and has even inspired her boyfriend to start hitting the gym once more to try and lose the weight.
She told the show: “He’s really finally ready for it this time, of course I’m going to be there. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for since he started gaining. For him to really want to be healthy again.”
David Smith, under no illusions about the challenge ahead, agrees that the time is right to start again.
“As much as you’ve worked on the outside, you have to work on the inside,” he explained.
“And if your foundation isn’t built up, you’re just going to crumble down. And unfortunately I fell down, but I know I can climb back up.”
An Austrian crematorium officials have blamed a deceased woman’s obesity for causing a fire which had to be tackled by firefighters.
Graz firemen were covered in thick sticky soot as they tried to prevent the blaze from taking hold of the building.
The case has been widely reported in Austrian media, including in the ORT, and has ignited calls for a weight limit on bodies to protect against future fires.
Some countries such as Switzerland and the UK already have facilities which cater for extra large bodies, in line with the growing trend of expanding waistlines.
An expert report on the Austria fire has revealed that the woman being cremated weighed more than 200 kg – or 31st 7 lbs – and her size had caused the oven to overheat.
An Austrian crematorium officials have blamed a deceased woman's obesity for causing a fire which had to be tackled by firefighters
The press reports state that the filter temperature reached 300 C and officials realized there was a problem when thick black smoke started billowing into the building.
The device was immediately switched off but by then there was already a fire in the filter.
Firemen whose clothing was left covered with a layer of greasy black soot were snapped as they tackled the difficult to extinguish blaze in special breathing gear to avoid breathing in the fumes.
In the end they had to bring the fire under control by sending a blast of water in through the vents used to clear the filter. Repair work took several days during which time the crematorium was out of action.
Firemen said that after reports of similar problems at other cemeteries not only in Austria but also in Switzerland, officials were now are considering a ban on larger bodies.
Graz based fireman Otto Widetschek said: “Crematorium officials need to be more responsible and not just automatically put everybody in to be cremated.”
He said that in Switzerland there were moves now to make sure that XXL bodies were routinely shipped to a special crematorium able to deal with the extra heat caused by larger bodies.