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December 3rd, 2013
03:04 PM ET

Study: There's no such thing as healthy obesity

You've probably heard someone say, "I'm fat but fit." Several recent studies have suggested this statement could be true. But a new review of existing studies published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine may put a stop to the rumor.

"Healthy obesity" is just a myth, the study authors say.

Some background

Scientists know that overweight people can be what they call "metabolically healthy." This means that despite having a high body mass index, or BMI, someone can have a small waistline, normal blood pressure and low cholesterol levels, and show little to no risk for developing diabetes. The opposite is also true; thin people can be metabolically unhealthy, with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and fat that accumulates only around their middle, which is a known risk for heart disease.

This kind of paradox highlights "the complexity of the relationship between weight and mortality," the authors of this new meta-analysis write. A lot of factors impact a person's cardiovascular health, including how much they exercise and when they put on the weight.

The study

The researchers evaluated the eight studies, which included a total of more than 60,000 participants. All of the studies had recorded participants' BMI and their metabolic status, as well as any fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular events, such as a heart attack.

Data analysts split the participants into five groups:

- Metabolically unhealthy and normal weight
- Metabolically unhealthy and overweight
- Metabolically unhealthy and obese
- Overweight but metabolically healthy
- Obese but metabolically healthy

They then compared the number of cardiovascular events that happened in each of these groups with their control group: a sample of normal weight, metabolically healthy people.

The results

As they expected, the researchers found that their control group - the normal weight, metabolically healthy people - had the fewest cardiovascular events of all the groups.

They also found that being metabolically unhealthy puts you at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, even if you're in the normal BMI range. In fact, the metabolically unhealthy thin people had the same risk as the metabolically unhealthy obese group in the short-term.

Perhaps more surprising was that they found little difference in the risk for heart disease between metabolically healthy overweight individuals and  metabolically healthy normal weight people. The same was true for metabolically healthy obese people.

So why do they say healthy obesity is a myth?

Because when researchers looked specifically at studies that followed participants for at least 10 years, it showed the metabolically healthy obese group had an increased risk of death and cardiovascular events compared to those of normal weight.

And why have some previous studies suggested you can be overweight and healthy?

The study authors say those studies included metabolically unhealthy individuals in the "normal weight" control groups, which influenced their results.

Caveats

Every study has a caveat - something the scientists couldn't control for or didn't analyze that may be affecting the results. The studies analyzed by these scientists did not always have adequate information on the participants' health behaviors, such as what they ate or whether they smoked, and did not collect data about the participants' weight gain over time.  Plus, not every age group was represented equally in these studies.

Takeaway

Excess weight will affect your body, even if the damage isn't apparent now, the study authors say.  And normal weight people shouldn't consider themselves healthy without checking their cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels.

"Obesity is taking a toll on the health and well-being of Americans," Drs. James Hill and Holly Wyatt write in an accompanying editorial in the journal. "Accepting that no level of obesity is healthy is an important step toward deciding how best to use our resources and our political will to develop and implement strategies to combat the obesity epidemic."


soundoff (157 Responses)
  1. drowlord

    So what's obvious is once again found to be true? Nice. And science that refuted easily-observed correlations were flawed. Shocking.

    December 3, 2013 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John

      As usual none of this addresses body composition. When you're trying to understand exactly how weight affects the body and cardiovascular health, you have to know something about what – the weight – IS. I'm technically 'overweight' because I'm 5'6, 165 lbs – but I'm 165 lbs and 12% BF because I train strongman and bodybuilding. I eat mostly healthy foods with a higher fat intake than most people. I generally avoid high glycemic carbs. The concept of 'holiday weight gain' for me is not 'a thing'. I train 4-6 days a week consistently. Holidays, birthdays, weekends, vacations, whatever, doesn't matter. I'm eating my second lunch of oven roasted chicken, provolone cheese, green chili, asparagus and blackberries as I write this. These crap studies that talk about 'weight' without addressing whether it's muscle or fat are useless to me and those like me. I consistently have blood tests in the 'low risk' range, however I do have an extremely high level of family history for heart disease. My LDL is consistently lower than it should be (~38), which is the only exception to my numbers. I realize we're statistical outliers, but when the actual SCIENCE is being done in such uselessly general terms as 'weight', how can you possibly expect to gain deeper understanding of metabolic science or cardiovascular event management?

      December 3, 2013 at 17:27 | Report abuse |
    • JohnC

      @John, Your description is why many also advocate using the ratio of waste to hip which should be under 80% for women and 100% for men. Very fit muscular people will still have a thin waste. Though still VERY muscular men are still at risk based on some studies because the overall mass over the heart can damage the heart. Anyway, I'm sure you know that the VAST majority of high BMI is due to fat and those that are all muscle know darn well they are in a different category. For every rule there are exceptions but the rule is still good to know.

      December 3, 2013 at 18:03 | Report abuse |
    • Chad

      John you are right on the money.. I am 6' 4" @ 250 and 18% body fat I check in with the doctor 2 times a year to make sure all is good and all my numbers are in line except like you my ldl is a tad low. I am however, considered Obese 30.1 BMI (my waist is a size 34). I would love to know if I am actually at an increased risk or not but these studies don't account for people who are actually fit.

      December 3, 2013 at 18:20 | Report abuse |
    • Nobody you know

      @JohnC: It's WAIST. Not "waste."

      Geez.

      December 3, 2013 at 18:23 | Report abuse |
    • Cogline Erro

      @Nobody you know
      It's "pretentious", not "helpful."

      December 3, 2013 at 19:12 | Report abuse |
    • jared

      JOHN: did you even read the article or watch the video? It says that this study was done entirely seperatlelyfrom the BMI index.

      December 3, 2013 at 20:19 | Report abuse |
    • jared

      and chad, you realize that physical fitness is irrelevant. Things like time spent sitting on your ass every day can lead to a shorter life, it is proven, and that is regaurdless of fitness level. Being obese is a disease

      December 3, 2013 at 20:20 | Report abuse |
    • Timothy

      A lot of being over weight has to do with where people live, true, sometimes there are health issues that cannot be corrected that cause a person to be over weight, A person who lives in Arizona will not have the opportunities to physically walk daily when it is 75 at 7a.m. and 120 by 1p.m..

      Exercising on a treadmill is not the same as being able to go out and do physical walking, if you live in Colorado, you have plenty of sun and tropical days that you will want to get out and walk and people tend to breath better because the air is healthier.

      For those people who live back east they have to deal with a lot of cold and rain, and it is not an incentive to want to go out and walk when the sky is grey. There are many reasons why people are over weight and researchers put a lot of emphasis on what people eat, and it is not always about the food intake for why people are over weight.

      December 4, 2013 at 00:16 | Report abuse |
    • jez

      No kidding – this is the biggest "DUH" in the world. Overweight people just want to pretend they are the "new healthy". Put down the third slice of pizza and hit the gym.

      December 4, 2013 at 02:15 | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      @jared: I read the article. It states, "All of the studies had recorded participants' BMI and their metabolic status..."

      December 4, 2013 at 09:08 | Report abuse |
    • Anne

      1. The Food Industry has followed the tobacco companies and poisoned the people with processed food chemicals we did NOT ask for.

      2. High Fructose Corn Syrups and many more processed food chemicals cause obesity, diabetes and food addiction. The food "additives" today cause inflammatory diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease

      3. The FDA has helped the food makers make billions(like the tobacco companies)

      4. Inflammatory weight gain (obesity) has increased over 300% in the past 40 years, the foods have been poisoned and many got rich off this. Reverse your own obesity by addressing inflammation.

      just google SPIRIT HAPPY DIET

      December 4, 2013 at 09:59 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      @Timothy...sounds like a whole lot of excuses to justify being lazy. No matter where you live you can live a healthy, active life. Walking (or in my case running) in the snow and rain can be fun. Not to mention the plethora of winter sports that actually require cold weather and snow. Walking or running or biking or anything else, in the sun and heat (if dressed and hydrated appropriately) is safe and fun. Also you can swim in a pool or a lake in the hot summer weather. Besides this, if you don't like the weather and prefer to be indoors, there are LOTS of activities that can be done inside, including swimming at your local YMCA or gym. The list of excuses and the fact that you think the only physical activity available to people is walking sounds ridiculous and is EXACTLY why more and more people are obese.

      December 4, 2013 at 10:21 | Report abuse |
  2. Rick

    I agree. I'm only moderately overweight (25 pounds) but suffer from high blood pressure as a result. My body is just used to being skinny and packing on midsection pounds has taken its toll.

    December 3, 2013 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John

      Sorry, unless you're 6'5', since when is 25 lbs overweight only "moderately" overweight?

      December 3, 2013 at 20:56 | Report abuse |
  3. Pippa

    Well, that's it then. The Holls will be ruined for most of us. Even the air we breathe is fattening. Yeah. Right. Shame on you, CNN, for publishing this now. Some people are still eating Thanksgiving left-overs, you know?
    Anyway, I shall eat whatever I want, whenever I want.
    Go away, now. And, may you all have Wonderful Holls and Healthy and Peaceful 2O14;-)

    December 3, 2013 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • helicohunter

      Shame on CNN? For what? Publishing and article that runs counter to your beliefs? People need this information. I knew one very obese woman who thought she didn't need to worry about her weight because she did Tae Kwon Do. Some people refuse to believe any scientific study because sometimes results are contradictory. The press doesn't help this by printing stories about very preliminary studies which are done on small groups of patients. Studies need to be repeated by others to make sure the results weren't a fluke. When some studies are contradictory, experiments are designed to figure out why previous studies didn't agree.

      December 3, 2013 at 22:31 | Report abuse |
  4. joe

    Or perhaps more people are overweight because overweight people live longer than underweight people.

    December 3, 2013 at 16:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dan

      overweight people live longer than underweight people?

      December 3, 2013 at 17:30 | Report abuse |
    • Ec

      There's a reason that people who are very old aren't usually fat. Fat people die sooner.

      December 3, 2013 at 18:24 | Report abuse |
    • lulany

      Genes undeniably play a role as well. My great grandmother as well as my grandmother on my mother's side were very big women and they both died in their late eighties. My mom ate badly all of her life and has been 100 pounds overweight for at least 30 years and she's going to be 80 in the spring. Ironically, her dad was thin as a rail and he died in his early sixties.

      December 3, 2013 at 19:39 | Report abuse |
    • John

      You're kidding, right? Every scientific study done in the last thirty years disagrees entirely with your assessment.

      December 3, 2013 at 20:57 | Report abuse |
    • Valerie

      Absolutely NOT true. And there are studies that PROVE living things actually live LONGER by intermittent FASTING. I do not know WHERE you heard slightly overweight or overweight people in general live linger because that is SO NOT TRUE.

      December 4, 2013 at 08:20 | Report abuse |
    • Mithrael

      Here is a link to the mega study (sample size 50 times larger than this one) which found overweight people have a lower mortality risk than normal weight: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1555137

      December 4, 2013 at 10:57 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Uh, sorry but being overweight actually decreases your lifespan probability. Fact- For the first time in the history of America, children of our current generation has a shorter lifespan probability due to 72% being clinically overweight and 34% being clinically obese. Sorry to burst your bubble but just look at long-term healthcare facilities, a VERY small percentage are fat. It's common sense, in addition to clinically proven. There is no such thing as fat-healhty, you will suffer the consequences of sitting on fat rears, eating high-fat & high-sugar and not exercising….. Reading- it's a good thing. -MS in Health

      December 4, 2013 at 11:10 | Report abuse |
  5. Bill Hannegan

    Pippa, not everyone is a glutton. So for me, the holidays means ice skating, walking through Xmas light displays, spending time with my family, and putting up a tree. As opposed to gorging myself until I'm about to puke, and then watching TV for eight hours straight. Maybe you should reevaluate your lifestyle. There's a reason Americans are so fat – they've made it their culture.

    December 3, 2013 at 17:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ec

      I think she was joking. Maybe, if you weren't so angry, nasty, and self-righteous, we'd buy that you're actually having fun. Eating has been a way of celebrating for centuries and there's nothing wrong with that if you're a healthy person, Judgy McJudgerson.

      December 3, 2013 at 18:26 | Report abuse |
    • Cogline Erro

      Bill, not everyone can't take a joke and relax a little. Some of us read with a light heart and are able to laugh at the world. To me reading comments is about enjoying a little satire, understanding sarcasm, and thinking before I type. As opposed to writing with ire towards those who choose to live their lives differently than me and feeling superior to others because I believe my way is the only right way. Maybe you should reevaluate how you respond to people. There's a reason people who live a healthy lifestyle are such immature pretentious jerks-they've made it their culture.

      December 3, 2013 at 19:18 | Report abuse |
    • Nobody you know

      Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, meet Cog.

      December 4, 2013 at 15:09 | Report abuse |
  6. Doc's Wife

    Thank you for stopping the "sugar coating" (pun intended.)
    Fat may be all too common, but it's just not healthy.

    December 3, 2013 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. ChubbyChaser

    I prefer to look at chubbiness as an evolutionary trait to sexually satisfy people like me who enjoy muffin tops and slightly wobbly tummies!!!

    Bring on the chubby chicks!!!

    December 3, 2013 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sqeptiq

      Just don't plan to be enjoying them for long.

      December 4, 2013 at 22:27 | Report abuse |
  8. JG

    Duh. We're too politically correct in this country. Most of our citizens eat garbage and big is not at all healthy. We've always known it. Maybe it's time we stop just accepting it... and do something about it. If we really want to talk about controlling the cost of healthcare.......

    December 3, 2013 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Angelkai

    @John

    I do agree that the composition of a person should be taken into account, but in the US populace individuals like yourself are very rare. It is safe to assume that in any news article, they are going to be looking at excess fat rather than high percentage of muscle. That being said, I would love for more health and fitness to look at the long term effects of high muscle percentage.

    I only bring up that these articles tend to address excess fat because in nearly every comment thread, there will be at least one person who brings up your argument.

    December 3, 2013 at 17:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. TG

    I wish the study (or perhaps this report of the study – I haven't read the study itself) would point out that underweight and healthy is also a myth. The constant focus on overweight and obesity is driving more and more people to unhealthy dietary restrictions (and perpetuating the supermodel/superskinny is beautiful garbage). There's balance in everything and to suggest that the only myth is overweight and healthy skews the balance and the perception.

    December 3, 2013 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. W. Fattig

    Then why are we living so long. Obesity is epidemic, we should be dying like flies at age 65. When obesity was extremely low the life expectancy is low. Perhaps people who live longer just get more diseases.

    December 3, 2013 at 17:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jj

      Unfortunately, this generation of children will not attain the same age as their parents before death. Obesity is taking its toll on this generation.

      December 3, 2013 at 18:06 | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      My younger sister died at 44. I am 48 and fit. 5'2" and 108 lbs. with as much muscle as I can build. I work our regularly, eat clean and try to only stick to natural remedies. Muscle weighs more than fat by volume so two different people both weighing the same amount...one could be fat...the other buff.

      December 3, 2013 at 20:24 | Report abuse |
    • mick

      We're only living longer now because of certain breakthroughs (medicine).

      December 4, 2013 at 00:20 | Report abuse |
    • Valerie

      Mick is RIGHT. Life expectancy is higher now because of medicine. Life expectancy is determined by AVERAGES, and since the mortality rate of INFANTS has gone up, so does the life expectancy. Since the dawn of time, if a child lived to be about 12 years old, they would live just as long as life as today.

      December 4, 2013 at 08:23 | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      Most of the "fat generation" hasn't yet run into life expectancy ranges. people who are 75-80 years old didn't grow up fat like much of the younger generations.

      December 4, 2013 at 22:30 | Report abuse |
  12. Bribarian

    Hate to say it, but the only real way to combat obesity would be just starving the population for a few months.

    December 3, 2013 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. gregg

    So this is saying that those 6'4" 250 lbs 5% body fat guys are unhealthy in the long run? These BMI crap studies never take an athletic build into consideration. At 6'5" you are overweight if you weigh more than 215lbs.

    December 3, 2013 at 18:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. gregg

    I'm sorry 210 is the upper limit of normal if you are 6'5" ridiculous. Even NBA players weigh more than that at 6'5" let alone any of the other professional sports.

    December 3, 2013 at 18:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sqeptiq

      what percent of the population do you think has that kind of muscle mass? 1% maybe or probably less.

      December 4, 2013 at 22:31 | Report abuse |
  15. Jan

    I think that more accurate than calling being fat & fit a myth, I think that recognition needs to be given to the fact that even if you are fit, packing extra weight around increases the work load, and that increased work load takes a toll. When carrying extra weight takes its toll on joints and all the things that have to work well for a person to maintain the physically active lifestyle that keeps him/her fit, it becomes harder and harder, and then impossible to maintain that level of fitness. That would explain why the fit but fat folks have no increased health risks for awhile, but then the stats change.

    December 3, 2013 at 18:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Susan

      One of the best "in a nutshell" comments yet. Short sweet and concise.

      December 3, 2013 at 20:27 | Report abuse |
  16. Another Voice

    It would be helpful if they included some discussion on the difference between overweight and obese here. Many people think they are just overweight when they are obese and others (especially thanks to the media) obsess about how horrible it is to be "fat" without any distinction between overweight and actually obese.

    You would think that an article based on actually scientific research would include a brief statement discussing the key terms and how they were defined for the study, but maybe that is asking too much.

    December 3, 2013 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Hera Sent Me

    "Perhaps more surprising was that they found little difference in the risk for heart disease between metabolically healthy overweight individuals and metabolically healthy normal weight people."

    So is the above a fact, or is it not. If it is, then why are the researchers ignoring it? If it's not, then what good is their research.

    Seems to me this is a case of researchers insisting an assertion is true, and not letting facts get in the way.

    December 3, 2013 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. almac64

    We needed a study for this? Next study – sticking a knife in you gut may cause intestinal discomfort. Jesus H Christ, people are daft.

    December 3, 2013 at 19:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Crystal

    The fat acceptance movement should be punished for perpetuating this lie.

    December 3, 2013 at 19:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Observer

    "I'm healthy!"

    "Fat chance."

    December 3, 2013 at 19:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. MashaSobaka

    So many caveats that it's a wonder they even saw fit to open their mouths.

    December 3, 2013 at 19:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Marsha

    This, of course, will be refuted by a new scientific study next year.

    December 3, 2013 at 19:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Pete

    I like how in the video, the fat one, Michaela Pereira, sits there and doesn't utter a single syllable the whole time while the expert is talking about how the study verifies it is really bad to be overweight.

    December 3, 2013 at 19:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. shawn l

    Pfft. Buncha crap. You can be overweight and perfectly healthy and fit. Other studies have stated that. While extra pounds aren't always great for you, it depends on your genetic make up. In fact its healthier for older people to have MORE weight on them than less weight.

    December 3, 2013 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Charlie Mike

      It's not healthier for older people to have more weight. Especially when I have to carry them down three flights of stairs on a backboard while they are in cardiac arrest. Do you know who I've never carried down stairs on a backboard while in cardiac arrest? A skinny old person.

      December 3, 2013 at 20:22 | Report abuse |
    • Joyce

      Well, they do say that obesity can take years off the end of your life. But then, those are usually the crappiest years anyway, so maybe it doesn't matter.

      December 4, 2013 at 00:09 | Report abuse |
    • Another Voice

      There is a difference between being overweight and being obese. The article actually agrees with what you say about overweight, but the point is about obesity. Too bad the article doesn't actually tells us what standards were parameters were used to distinguish between overweight and obese. Kind of a key piece missing here.

      December 4, 2013 at 01:35 | Report abuse |
  25. stephen48739

    The body mass index is nothing more than a population study. Out of the total number of people in the study, an average weight was determined. This average was called "normal" and anything above or below "normal" is considered abnormal and something to avoid. Our media and physicians promote a "normal" weight. Barbie doll bodies in a cabbage patch population.

    December 3, 2013 at 19:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. wadej420

    our media actually promotes your are beautiful just the way you are "big is beautiful"

    December 3, 2013 at 19:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. wadej420

    plant based eating, eat all you want, and still shed those extra pounds.

    December 3, 2013 at 19:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lulany

      Perhaps but the reality is that most people feel that eating what they want is at least as important as eating as much as they want if not more.

      December 3, 2013 at 20:30 | Report abuse |
    • celisti

      i agree, but still you have to cut most of processed carbs, such as bread/bagel/pizza/cake etc., and diary/cheese stuff. or else, you won't become any thinner or fitter.

      December 3, 2013 at 20:48 | Report abuse |
  28. sybaris

    This is the same thing I have been trying to tell my wife for years.

    Her dad is obese and eats like a pig but claims his Dr. tells him that all his levels are within range. That may be...for now. When he gets to 65 and his levels go through the roof from trying to process 3 plates of food at one sitting then maybe it will sink in.

    December 3, 2013 at 20:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. lulany

    Whatever the study may be you have to insert some common sense. I'm a few pounds above my BMI but I have very little fat at all on my middle section because I'm pear shaped. I eat well and constantly strive to improve but I'm not going to start obsessing about the potential health hazard of that few extra inches on my hips.

    December 3, 2013 at 20:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. celisti

    fat is bad, obesity is bad, period.

    people have to cut sugar, carbs (bread/bagel/cake/pizza etc.) and soft drinks, and even most of diary products out of their diet to loose weight. don't follow FDA food recommendations, which only gets people fatter.

    December 3, 2013 at 20:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Another Voice

      Fat is critically important for proper brain and nerve function.

      Extremism is bad, period

      December 4, 2013 at 01:36 | Report abuse |
    • Buster Simcus

      "Fat is critically important" That's why fat people are smarter than thin people!

      December 4, 2013 at 10:34 | Report abuse |
    • mk

      @Another...I think by 'fat is bad', she/he means being fat is bad, not necessarily eating it.

      December 4, 2013 at 11:02 | Report abuse |
  31. Chaz

    Jeez.... Every time we read another article about the adverse health effects of obesity, the VERY SMALL percentage of people with high BMIs, lots of muscle, and low body fat come out to bash the study.

    If your IQs were half of what you could bench press, you'd understand that the vast majority of people with high BMIs aren't like you. And while you may be an outlier, it doesn't invalidate the fact that people with higher BMIs tend to have higher risk of cardiovascular events than people with normal BMIs. As a matter of fact, the more healthy muscle-building people there are in the high BMI group, the more you are diluting the adverse effect of obesity in the overall group. Meaning that the study could actually be UNDEREMPHASIZING the effect that true obesity has on a person's overall health,

    December 3, 2013 at 21:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. gab

    damned….I was sure that being obsess was healthy… I guess I will have to go back to school.

    December 3, 2013 at 23:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Jen

    Obese, obese, obese, obese. Nasty. Judging. Useless. Stop using this word. Promotes prejudice and discrimination. Who cares if one does not live to 80, or 90, or 100. Cancer and heart disease take out people in all decades of life, people of all 'weights', and death is not waiting around the corner just for the overweight. Most people who are overweight live well and long.

    December 3, 2013 at 23:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joyce

      I agree. I doubt that any other time in history has there been such an obsession about weight. In fact, this whole health care 'crisis' wouldn't be such an issue if we all just did better at accepting death and illness as a part of life.

      December 4, 2013 at 00:15 | Report abuse |
    • Buster Simcus

      When you are 70 and healthy, are you going to say "I don't care if I live another ten years"? Obese people don't live long lives. The word long is a relative term. The average lifespan of men in USA is 82, but that includes all the smokers, alcoholics, and other drug addicts, as well as risk takers like Paul Walker, losers like Michael Jackson, motorcyclists, and people with genetic abnormalities. If your family live longer than average, you don't have any excuse for smoking, eating beef, sugar, and not knowing how much vitamin E and zinc is in your food. If you do those things you will live a lot longer than the average obese person.

      December 4, 2013 at 00:19 | Report abuse |
    • mk

      It's not always about how long you live, but quality of life. Some people can be overweight and feel fine, but most do not and have a host of medical issues. It is not judgmental to use the word obese because it is simply describing a body type, same as the word thin. If one places negativity on that word, that is their issue.

      December 4, 2013 at 10:58 | Report abuse |
    • Buster Simcus

      " if we all just did better at accepting death and illness " That's absurd. Obesity is bigger problem than in the past. That's why there's never been more obsession with it. Accepting early death and illness because people destroy themselves with tobacco, alcohol, guns, motorcycles, and food, is a bad decision. A great deal of the problem is caused by external influence, like Tobacco and cereal companies marketing to kids. They get hooked on sugar and nicotine before they know what hit them. Ignoring this problem and claiming we should just accept it is cruel.

      December 4, 2013 at 22:13 | Report abuse |
  34. too frat to care

    haha, i know a couple of people with bulging guts tell me, nah this is pure muscle! um, except it's not, and you're fat. Actually, it's call adipose tissue and it piles on. Eating right, and exercising has a lot to do with simple discipline. Does food have control over you, or are you in control with what you eat.

    December 3, 2013 at 23:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. ChristianzMP

    In the article "There is no such thing as healthy obesity" informs the reader that ones body mass index do BMI can be big but still be healthy, have stable blood pressure and show no signs of diabetes. But just how you ban be thick and fit you can be skinny and unhealthy. After studying the BMI's and who is more at risk the results showed that those with a BMI that was metabolically unhealthy but normal weight was at the lowest risk of disease. The shocking part is that they found out that the people metabolically unhealthy and overweight were at the same risk as those metabolically unhealthy but underweight.

    After reading this article I am sort of shocked at the results found by the researchers. The information given in this article is very good to know specially if you are metabolically unhealthy and underweight. good to know for the reason that you might think you are healthy but in reality you at the same risk to get diseases as overweight people. Obesity has become an epidemic in this country and it is articles like this that are good so that even thin people can take a little more precaution with what they eat.

    December 3, 2013 at 23:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. mick

    And small people live longer than big people.

    December 4, 2013 at 00:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • blip

      Not necessarily, Mick. Give a walking skeleton and someone with a bit of body fat the same catastrophic digestive ailment and see who's (not) left standing.

      December 4, 2013 at 02:53 | Report abuse |
  37. musteryou

    Amazing how many fat people survive extreme situations. It seems you almost need a lot of blubber to survive them.

    December 4, 2013 at 00:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. James M. Head

    Garbage in Garbage out. You are what you Eat.

    December 4, 2013 at 00:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Very Buggy

      hummm Eat nothing you are nothing. works for me.

      December 4, 2013 at 01:29 | Report abuse |
  39. Tara

    On the same token, there's no such thing as healthy skinny when mainly processed food and minimal exercise are being put into the body. Anytime someone decides that his or her body is not worth giving their best to, the results are unhealthy. I think more of what the studies talking about fit not meaning size try to state is that physical appearance is not the sole way to tell how healthy a body is, although in the United States we have lived under the impression of the skinnier the better instead of the healthier the better.

    December 4, 2013 at 00:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. ***^^^***

    what the industry says we want and what we actually want are completely different. they make all kinds of excuses to keep doing what they are doing. its not us, its them.

    December 4, 2013 at 00:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • S1N

      Nope. If you're fat, it really IS you.

      December 4, 2013 at 00:58 | Report abuse |
  41. Very Buggy

    So then why are there more Obese old people then thin old people? skinny people have no energy stored up to recover from illnesses. 60K people is not a study, let try 60 Million people. then maybe some one might believe the results.

    December 4, 2013 at 01:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. blip

    Well, if obesity is such a horrible "disease," I wish it would kill me already. I'm sick of working out, I'm sick of dieting, and I'm sick to helll of self-righteous articles telling me what a loser I am. I've had enough, and I want out. Just a thought, though: anyone else ever wonder who's really sponsoring these "studies"? (Hello, Big Tobacco! How's it going?)

    December 4, 2013 at 02:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Mel Stricker

    The use of BMI is a joke or, if not a joke highly misleading. If you take identical twins who are not predisposed to being overweight and 1 lifts weights extensively and builds a large amount of muscle mass, that twin's BMI could end up being too high (base on BMI Charts). The twin with the high BMI could eat healthy and do other exercises while the twin with the 'normal' BMI could be doing exercise and eating health but does not 'bulk up'. Does that mean the twin with the high BMI is REALLY unhealthy. I don't think so.

    December 4, 2013 at 03:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Buster Simcus

      Everyone knows this. But it's not significant because very few people have high muscle mass and therefore it has little effect on the results of the study.

      December 4, 2013 at 09:46 | Report abuse |
  44. Topher

    I don't understand any of this anymore. I fasted on water. I eat fruit. I can no longer stomach most restaurant food, let alone fast food. I blend greens daily. I exercise/work/live all day long. What fat? lose the video folks.

    December 4, 2013 at 03:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nobody you know

      Yeah, Topher, you're just a saint. Get back to the Belief Blog where you belong.

      December 4, 2013 at 15:13 | Report abuse |
  45. musician1

    Im a former model with a high metabolism, and fortunately never struggled with weight issues. However, I do think that people drive around too much these days,and should walk more. Also, riding a bike can be a fun experience, and so can swimming. When it comes to eating, just remember the key word is "moderation" Eating isn't everything! There is more to enjoy out there so get out and start living..

    December 4, 2013 at 04:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Buster Simcus

      "High metabolism"? That's another myth. If your metabolism was "higher", assuming it means that your body needs more food for the same physical activity than other people of the same weight and BMI, then your body temperature would also be higher. The energy in your food has to go somewhere.

      December 4, 2013 at 09:43 | Report abuse |
  46. miscreantsall

    I have a female friend that is obese and has been obese most of her life.

    Yet, every doctor visits yields the same results (according to her). I am in perfect health, she says.

    How do you help people like this that are in denial? Any approach is received negatively. It's just sad.

    December 4, 2013 at 04:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Capone

    Wow.

    This article, and the study it talks about, are just filled with contradictions.

    "Study: There's no such thing as healthy obesity"
    "In fact, the metabolically unhealthy thin people had the same risk as the metabolically unhealthy obese group in the short-term."
    "Perhaps more surprising was that they found little difference in the risk for heart disease between metabolically healthy overweight individuals and metabolically healthy normal weight people. The same was true for metabolically healthy obese people."

    But here is my favorite and a clear indicator of junk science:

    "And why have some previous studies suggested you can be overweight and healthy? The study authors say those studies included metabolically unhealthy individuals in the "normal weight" control groups, which influenced their results."

    So if a person's actual weight is within the "normal" zone, you shouldn't classify them as "normal weight"?

    December 4, 2013 at 06:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. ThomasE

    Let's face it, people are lazy. I was a size 38 at 5"7. FAT! Thanks to my longing for hot women which I never got, I decided to hit the gym. After 3 years I'm a size 32 and well built. Unfortunately now all the hot women have either disappeared, turned gay, got married or have become obese and I don't even look at them. Sigh. Thank God for adult entertainers.

    December 4, 2013 at 07:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. KieranH

    I am just shocked!! You mean I can't be 400 pounds at 5'3" and work out and be considered healthy?? Oh the humanity....

    December 4, 2013 at 08:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Terri

    Well, perhaps some people don't want to live to be 80 or 90. Alzheimer's runs in my family, and I've watched my mother turn into a vegetable and remain that way for YEARS. She's 85 now, good ticker, just little to no brain function or quality of life. Me, I'll take 75 and out.....

    December 4, 2013 at 10:05 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.