Is it possible to be fat and fit? In today's ever-changing fitness landscape, knowing exactly what makes us healthy can be a bit of a head-scratcher. First, we're told carbs are our enemy in the fight against obesity and flock in our thousands for Atkins-friendly alternatives. Then we're told that carbs aren't in fact the issue...it's the sugar that'll send us to an early grave!
So it's no surprise that many folk are confused about what counts as healthy these days when the 'ideal' diet is still unclear.
The same goes for obesity and fitness. Those that are overweight or obese are often tagged with being lazy, unfit and unhealthy. Though many argue that although they do carry a few too many excess pounds, they still have healthy fitness levels.
So, what counts as 'healthy' when it comes to obesity and fitness?
Some say that it's more about how efficiently the heart works to keep our circulation strong and our oxygen levels sufficient, as opposed to the amount of excess weight we carry.
Others argue that it's about keeping the joints and muscles working, rather than worrying about the extra weight load.
Though a study has revealed that it doesn't matter how physically fit you are... if you're overweight, your risk of early death is significantly higher than someone of a healthy weight, getting no exercise.
Scientists said the findings, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, demolished the myth that being fit was enough to ensure good health, and compensate for obesity.
Over almost thirty years, over a million men were assessed in a study funded by the Swedish Research Council.
During this time, there were over 44,000 deaths, with the most common causes being cancer, trauma, suicide and cardiovascular conditions.
Those in the highest fifth of aerobic fitness were found to have a 48% lower risk of death from any cause compared with those in the lowest fifth.
They also had an 80% lower risk of death from alcohol or drug abuse, a 59% lower chance of suicide and a 45% drop in the risk of heart disease.
Those considered to be obese, yet with a high level of fitness were found to be 30% more likely to die prematurely, compared to slim people who rarely exercised.
These findings really challenge the idea that being fat. yet fit, can help to reduce the risk of fatal conditions. It seems that when it comes to being healthy, the excess weight will kill you long before a lack of exercise does.
Yet the two go hand in hand. As we continue in the long battle of the bulge that is obesity, a big solution to the countless health problems linked to obesity, is exercise. Not to simply become fitter, but to help in shifting the weight.
There's been talk of GP's being incentivised to put obese patients on a healthy diet, the government providing the obese with exercise plans and even young children joining fat camps. Yet until we educate the nation on the serious risks of obesity, the problem will continue to grow.
Now is a great time for Personal Trainers, especially those specialising in obesity, weight management and conditions such as Diabetes which are linked to being overweight. By quashing the myth that being fat, yet fit, leads to long-term health, we'll contribute to the decrease in obesity-related illness and subsequently, early death.
If you’re considering becoming an Obesity & Diabetes Specialist in order to work with the growing number of Diabetes patients, speak to the Focus team today about our course modules, or click here to find a course venue near you.