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The Healthy Obese? Don't Bet Your Life On It

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Bernard Hoffman
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Healthy Weight Loss Is Still Best



The debate about whether people can be healthy and obese is on again. I was reading an article from Live Science that talked about whether or not obese people can actually be healthy (1). They cited a study that was published in last month's issue of Diabetes Care which said that obese people with healthy metabolic profiles would benefit from losing weight. I read about that, too.

According to the study authors, the plan was to determine whether or not weight loss would be good for obese yet metabolically healthy people (2). To answer that question they studied the effects that exercise or diet-induced weight loss would have on metabolically healthy obese people and those who were at risk for cardiovascular disease.

It shouldn't come as any surprise that they concluded that metabolically healthy obese people would benefit from weight loss. That should be a no-brainer. What I have a problem with is that a lot of people will point to studies like the one mentioned above and mistakenly believe that it's a perfectly safe to be obese. But they would be forgetting or overlooking several facts: 

  • to be obese is to live in a constant state of inflammation (3) 
  • obesity causes insulin resistance (4) 
  • obesity is associated with increased cancer risk (5) and other illnesses 

There is just too much scientific evidence documenting the dangers of obesity to suddenly think that it is okay not to exercise or make healthy food choices. For most people, obesity is caused by physical inactivity and overeating. And that boils down to personal choice.

A person who chooses not to exercise and is an in-house resident at the all you can eat buffet can't complain when he finds out that he's now too wide for even his extra large pants (and thus has to spend more money on clothes), is in danger of passing out because he's out of breath after climbing a flight of stairs and has throbbing pain in ankles that are so swollen that he has to soak them before going to bed. I'm not saying this to make light of the struggles that obese people endure but the sad fact is that for so many people, obesity is a problem that they have allowed to happen to themselves. The things that are under your control are the things which you can fix - if you want to. It's your choice as to what to do about it. 

So, is it possible to be obese and healthy at the same time? I wouldn't bet my life on it. Would you? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Jesus, You have done more for us than we can ever repay. Help us to walk in Your ways and be good servants. You are God and You are our Redeemer.


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Article Sources

1. Obese But Healthy? Gray Area Confounds Science. Live Science

2. Janiszewski, P, M., Ross, R. Effects of Weight Loss Among Metabolically Healthy Obese Men and Women. Diabetes Care. September 2010 vol. 33 no. 9: 1957-1959.

3. Breaking the Obesity-Inflammation Cycle. webMD

4. Steinberger, J, Daniels, S, R. Obesity, Insulin Resistance, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Risk in Children: An American Heart Association Scientific Statement From the Atherosclerosis, Hypertension, and Obesity in the Young Committee (Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young) and the Diabetes Committee (Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism). Circulation. 2003;107: 1448-1453.

5. Eliassen, S.D., Golditz, G.A., Rosner, B., Willett, W.C., Hankinson, S.E. Adult Weight Change and Risk of Postmenopausal Breast Cancer. JAMA. 2006;296:193-201

"The Healthy Obese? Don't Bet Your Life On It: Healthy Weight Loss Is Still Best" copyright © 2010 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.




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