What’s your best protection from a heart attack? A Swedish study says being overweight but active lowers the risk, but you are still worse off than the skinny couch potato.
The Skinny Geek’s Revenge
A while ago I explained what “skinny fat” is: being of normal weight, but having the same health risks as an overweight person.
Only very few skinny persons fall into that category. But it’s still the defense of a couple of overweight people I know: just because your weight is normal doesn’t mean you are healthy. I at least do… (fill in Zumba, Nordic Walking etc.).
But are they, overweight and active, really better off than the twig who spends his time in front of the computer?
Lazy Skinny Is Better Than Fat Fit
Peter Nordström and his colleagues from the University of Uema say no. They analyzed data from 743,000 men, who between 1969 and 1984 had their health and fitness level assessed before serving in the Swedish military and were then monitored for an average 34 years. During that time, more than 11,000 heart attacks went on record.
Their first discovery the Swedish scientists pretty much expected: the higher a man’s fitness, the lower his risk for a heart attack.
What they didn’t expect was this: even the fittest overweight and obese had a higher heart attack risk than the laziest normal weight or underweight men.
This ties in with another study I wrote about a while ago, where 233 obese persons were considered “metabolically healthy” (normal blood pressure and cholesterol etc.), but on brain tests did as bad as those who were obese and metabolically unhealthy.
Active + Normal Weight = Best
Let’s face it: being overweight is stress for the body. But it’s still no excuse to be skinny and do nothing. Or as Peter Nordström summarizes his group’s findings:
Fitness alone does not appear to fully compensate for the risks with being overweight or obese. In other words, having a normal weight is more important than being in good physical shape, but it is even better to be both fit and have a normal weight.
Picture courtesy of Alan Levine.