THE idea that you can be fat and healthy is a myth, researchers have found.
Staying active does not counteract the negative effects of being obese, their study has shown.
And it means it is a mistake to promote exercise above weight loss.
Obese yet active people were found to be still twice as likely to have high cholesterol, four times more likely to have diabetes and five times likelier to have high blood pressure compared with people of normal weight.
It means they are at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke. Researcher Dr Alejandro Lucia said: “One cannot be fat but healthy. Exercise does not seem to compensate for negative effects of excess weight.”
The notion of fat but fit is championed by the body positivity movement — which seeks to dispel the stigma of being overweight.
But the Spanish experts refuted it by looking at data on 527,000 people and their weekly levels of exercise.
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Dr Lucia added: “Fighting obesity and inactivity is equally important — it should be a joint battle. But weight loss should remain a primary target for health policies.”
The study included 527,662 working adults separated into three weight groups - 42% were "normal weight", 41 per cent were "overweight", and 18 per cent were "obese."
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