There’s a persistent and controversial question dividing researchers: Can you be very overweight and also very healthy? The research suggesting people can be healthy at any size was intriguing. But the tide (and the research that supports it) is turning, with many researchers saying it’s simply not possible to be fit and obese.
A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that looked at 14,828 metabolically healthy Korean adults with no known heart disease found obese people had a higher prevalence of early plaque buildup in the arteries compared to normal weight people. The researchers defined obesity in the study as a BMI over 25; in the U.S. obesity is defined as a BMI over 35. The researchers conclude that even though these people may not have heart-related disease yet, their weight is still taking its toll on their health.
I think the issue comes to what the definition of “obese” is. Being “fat” amounts to anything other than an extremely low body fat percentage. The news of “healthy fat” might have enabled some to overestimate their relative health, fooling themselves into thinking they don’t need to make more effort. Those people are out there, but I truly believe they are a corner case – an extreme end of the spectrum, an outlier.
The best thing you can do right now is to treat people who are obese with kindness, and do healthy actions yourself for personal preventable measures and to increase a more healthy public perception towards nutrition and fitness. Fat shaming does not work.