‘Fat but fit’ is a myth when it comes to heart health, new study reveals

Previous studies suggested that being physically fit could reduce the negative effects of being overweight on heart health, but this was not the case, according to a new study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, European Society A journal of cardiology (ESC)), published on Thursday.

“One cannot be fat but will be healthy.” This was the first nationwide analysis to suggest that staying active regularly is unlikely to eliminate the harmful health effects of excess body fat, ”said study author Alejandro Lucia, a professor of exercise physiology at the European University of Madrid Huh.

“Our findings refute the notion that a physically active lifestyle can completely negate the harmful effects of overweight and obesity.”

Previous researches have provided some evidence that people who were “fat but fit” may have the same heart health as those who were “thin but unfit”, but Lucia said it has unintended consequences.

“This has led to controversial proposals for health policies to prioritize physical activities and fitness over weight loss,” he said. “Our study tried to clarify the relationship between activity, body weight, and heart health.”

The researchers used data from 527,662 working adults from Spain, insured by an occupational risk prevention company, with an average age of 42 years.

They were grouped according to activity level and group based on body weight: 42% of the participants were normal weight, with a body mass index (BMI) of 20–24.9; 41% overweight, BMI 25–29.9; And 18% were obese, BMI 30 or above.

Researchers then categorized their heart health for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, all of which are major risk factors for stroke and heart attack.

After examining the associations between BMI, activity level, and risk factors, the researchers concluded that any level of activity means that a person would be less likely to have any of the three risk factors than no exercise at all. , Which carries the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. Decreased with increase in activity level.

No exercise worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease, study shows

“It tells us that everyone, regardless of their body weight, must be physically active to protect their health,” Lucia said.

However, the study showed a greater cardiovascular risk for overweight and obese participants compared to normal weight people, regardless of how much exercise they did.

Participants who were obese and active were twice as likely to have high cholesterol, four times as likely to have diabetes, and five times as likely to have hypertension as those who were normal-weight but inactive.

“Exercise does not seem to compensate for the negative effects of overweight,” Lucia said. “This finding was seen overall in both men and women when they were analyzed separately.”

Lucia underlined that it is “equally important” to fight obesity and inactivity.

“Losing weight along with promoting an active lifestyle should be a primary goal for health policies,” he said.

‘We don’t know what came before’

However, questions remain around the circumstances of those involved in the study.

“It’s a cross-sectional study – we can talk about all the associations, we can’t talk about the cause,” Dean, vice president of data science and information technology at Duke University School of Medicine, told CNN .

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“Because this is a cross sectional study, we do not know what came before – this study is not telling us whether the person who is fat and active became active when they realized they were fat , And their risk factors were high? Or were they active, and despite that, they became obese and their risk factors increased? “Penkina, who was not involved with the study, added.

“We see that the weight of the risk factor increases by weight class. Obese people have the highest burden of associated risk factors. This is true according to activity level,” he said.

The study adds to a broad body of research on the subject.

Scientists at the University of Oxford released the results of a major study on 12 January. Physical exercise may be even more important for the prevention of heart disease than previously known – and the more activity the better, the report revealed.
And researchers at the Cleveland Clinic published a study in January 2019 that showed a sedentary lifestyle is worse for your health than smoking, diabetes, or heart disease.

“While the controversy about the precise contribution of weight vs. exercise to heart health will continue, to optimize health and reduce the risk of heart disease, patients should pay attention” Both: Head of the Cardiology Division at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Drs. Anthony Rosenzig said that maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active.


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