Study Shows ‘Fat but fit’ is a Myth

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A new research study[1] shows that the concept of being fat but healthy is not valid and that having excess body fat means you are still prone to heart diseases. According to previous studies, being physically fit could alleviate the harsh effects of having extra weight on heart health. However, a recent study shows that those who are overweight are still very susceptible to having an unhealthy heart.

Body mass index
A recent study shows that being overweight is still a risk to your health – even if otherwise you are in very good shape.

What was the Goal of the Research Study?

The study aimed to prove that even when maintaining an active lifestyle, one can still be vulnerable to heart health issues if the excess body fat isn’t eliminated. It also focuses on clarifying that being fat and being fit are not mutually exclusive. Just as much as being thin but unfit. Moreover, its goal is to show that excess body fat has detrimental health effects.

Physical fitness
Maintaining a healthy body mass index is important, studies show.

What were the Research Methods of the Study?

Researchers gathered and analyzed data from 527,662 working adults with an average age of 42 from Spain. 32 percent of these adults are women. They were grouped according to activity level, body weight, and BMI. 42 percent of participants were normal weight, with a BMI of 20-24.9. 41 percent were overweight and with 25-29.9 BMI, while the remaining 18 percent were obese with a BMI of 30 or above.

The majority of the participants were inactive, but 12.3 percent were insufficiently active, and 24.2 percent were regularly active. Some 30 percent had high cholesterol, 15 percent had high blood pressure, and 3 percent had diabetes. The researchers looked into the links between each BMI and activity group and the three risk factors.

What were the Results and Conclusions of the Findings?

The study showed that everyone who did physical activity had a decreased chance of diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol compared to being inactive. The study author, Dr. Alejandro Lucia, said that “this tells us that everyone, irrespective of their body weight, should be physically active to safeguard their health.” Additionally, the study came up with a conclusion that those who are overweight and obese exhibit greater cardiovascular risks regardless of how much exercise they did.

Obese and active participants showed greater chances to have high cholesterol, four times likely to have diabetes, and five times as likely to have high blood pressure compared to participants within the normal weight but inactive.

Running for fitness
Running is just one of many ways to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

Recommendations for Fitness Trainees Based on the Research

Excess weight has fatal effects that could not be compensated for by just exercising. It is best to fight inactivity and obesity at the same time. Therefore, positive weight loss, healthy and active lifestyle should be maintained for better cardiovascular health.


1. “Joint association of physical activity and body mass index with cardiovascular risk: a nationwide population-based cross-sectional study”