I mentioned last week another study proving fit and fat. Literally on the heels of that study was another one that the media including NPR screamed "No, that's wrong. If you are fat down the line you will die of something."
This new study said that fat (only those with 30 BMI or over) people who were metabolic healthy were 24 percent more likely to be metabolically unhealthy 10 years later.
Of course when the media picks it up, they assume this must mean that you cannot be fat and fit.
The study didn't include physical fitness. The study didn't take into account fat people who were physically active. This means that they don't know if metabolically healthy fat people stayed that way if they were physically active. I have mentioned before on this blog that there are barrier to fat people exercising. Bikes aren't weight rated, fat people get starred at the gym, fat people exercising are told they aren't "Graceful" or how miserable we look.
That means NBC's headline -- "New Research Disputes Fat But Fit Claim" -- is simply wrong because the meta-analysis didn't take physical fitness into account, so "fat but fit" (where fit means being physically fit) was never actually tested.
The study also didn't include chronic dieting. Every single fat person I know (And I know a lot) except for one has a history of dieting. Before I did the Atkins diets, I was metabolically perfect. After Atkins my cholesterol went up to 232. To the point I had a doctor want to put me on drugs for it. Only through healthy eating and exercise was I able to bring it to almost normal with no weight loss. I find it terrifying that dieting history is often overlooked or ignored when doing studies on fatness.
"The study is silent on the health impact of pursuing weight loss, because it does not compare people who were fat who lost weight to people who are still fat," she (Deb Burgard) wrote. In fact, she continued, fat people who repeatedly try to lose weight are more likely to yo-yo diet, or weight-cycle, than they are to maintain weight loss permanently. And because weight-cycling has been linked to cardiac disease and other problems, overweight people who are metabolically healthy could increase their risks of the very diseases they tried to avoid in the first place if they lose weight and gain it back again.
It all goes back to the Flegal and similar studies. This study proved that people with normal and overweight BMI had the same risks.
NPR's is just inaccurate; in fact, the meta-analysis showed that overweight, healthy people's risks were so similar to the control group's risks that the difference was statistically insignificant.
This study only strengthens the Health at Every Size argument. You can make countless studies showing fat is evil and bad but with no method of weight loss proved to work in the long run for most people, it would be better to focus on increasing physically activity. Another study shows a change of healthy habits not weight loss is responsible for improvement in health indicators.
What’s more, the few health benefits they found appear to be the result of participants adopting specific healthy habits such as exercising and eating more fruits and vegetables. Weight loss—or lack thereof—was apparently not the defining factor.
I much prefer when "Obesity experts" focus on reducing stigma. You shouldn't have to be thin to exercise and you shouldn't have to eat less than what your body needs.