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Heart & Vascular Health | Heart Healthy Living
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Can You be Fit and Fat?

The short answer is 'No'

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There may be more recent information available.

Some people call it the “obesity paradox.” There are studies that suggest that some obese people are at no greater risk for heart disease and cancer than trim people and may even have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. None of these findings come from the kind of controlled studies that are needed to lay a medical controversy to rest, however. And you would be ill-advised to pounce on a bag of potato chips to improve your cardiovascular or other fitness.

The danger of a pot belly

“Not everyone who is obese develops heart disease,” says Steven Nissen, MD, chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic. “But being obese is not healthy. We’ve become particularly aware of the increased danger posed by abdominal fat – the fat that accumulates beneath the abdominal wall and gives you a ‘pot belly’ or makes you apple shaped. These intra-abdominal fat cells are metabolically active, releasing at least 80 different chemicals and hormones that promote diabetes, inflammation and lipid changes.”

Dr. Nissen shares that obesity accounts for 300,000 deaths every year in America alone and rejects the view of some doctors that some patients can be classed as “metabolically healthy obese.” He notes that there are careful studies demonstrating that individuals with excess weight and normal cholesterol levels still face an increased risk of developing heart disease when compared to metabolically healthy people of normal weight.

Dr. Nissen’s advice

“Being overweight or obese puts you at a higher risk for other conditions besides cardiovascular disease, – including cancer and osteoarthritis,” says Dr. Nissen. “Overweight is a major risk factor for young people having joint problems resulting in the need for a hip or knee replacement. Overweight and obesity in particular reduce both the quality and duration of life. Ask your doctor to assess your weight relative to your health and get a recommendation on a weight loss program if you need one.”

 

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Tags: diet, Dr. Steven Nissen, exercise, heart disease, obesity, research
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  • Just me.

    I am so tired of the medical world giving obesity a bad rap. Obesity is the most discriminated group in the United States! Being obese is not much different than being gay! A gay person is not gay by choice. Sure, they can try and hide it, and some gays do it pretty successfully … Maybe even marrying and having children. But all the while, they must be self disciplined enough to never let their guard down, lest they be discovered. Today, lucky for gays and increased acceptance, they don’t have to be forced to live in the closet. Well its the same situation for us fat people. Not one fat person ever woke up one day and said ” I think I want to be a fat person”, then proceeded to make sure their calorie intake was adequate to maintain an obese lifestyle. What has caused obese people to have increased medical problems they do are things that try and force the obese to be something they are not…. And that’s slim people! Artificial sweeteners, restricted calorie diets, low fat foods containing a bunch of artificial chemicals that tax our organs and endocrine systems causing problems like diabetes, etc. are the enemies! It’s no secret and a proven fact that the majority of animals that are exposed to a period of starvation and then are offered food again, end up gaining all of their weight back…and a little more for surplus, to self-preserve against the effects of a potential famine again.
    I will admit that there are some fat people that have been able to click their metabolisms into a different mode, but most of the former fat must maintain a strict self-discipline at all times in order to keep from gaining the weight back, not unlike the closet gay. The medical, pharmaceutical, and now surgical professions have made billions and billions of dollars exploiting fat people and its a disgrace! So, why can’t fat people be fit? Because society is so programmed to discriminate against us because of our size…never considering our true desires or potential abilities! I want to join a yoga group so bad, but fat people aren’t readily accepted into such circles. So we shy away…stay in the closet so to speak. Society expects fat people to exhibit lazy behaviors. They make fun when they see a fat person jogging….and we know it! Nobody enjoys being embarassed and we naturally avoid situations that do just that. Someday, when fat can be accepted as an individual trait, like height, skin color, or sexual preference, it will prove that being fat in and of itself is NOT always unhealthy! Thin people have equally unhealthy habits as fat people. Many never exercise, they smoke, drink, and engage in risky behaviors. So why don’t you hear much about them? Hmmmm…. Maybe because the medical/pharmaceutical companies haven’t figured out how to make a buck on them yet. But they are profiting BIG on us BIG people. I’m not on the band wagon. Call me fat if you want. I’m fine just the way I am. Could I improve my health? You bet I could! Is my goal to become thin? Nope. I’m realistic. Had I not succumbed to the pressures of dieting in the past, and become a victim of the yo yo phenomenon, I would probably weigh a lot less than I do now. But I accept that I am what I am. My goals are no different than anyone else wanting to make healthier choices. But my goal is just that. To feel good. To make choices that support health. To avoid putting unhealthy artificial chemicals into the body that God has given us. He has made each of us in His own image, yet we are each unique and no two of us are exactly alike…not even siamese twins! It is our responsibility to be true to preserving our bodies in ways that make us feel healthy. Not to become what someone else thinks we should be. So….I firmly disagree with Cleveland Clinic. I believe you CAN be fat…and fit! So there!