People who claim it’s fine to be fat because it’s possible to be “obese and healthy” at the same time are kidding themselves right into an early grave, scientists have concluded.
A major new study from a British university analyzed the health records of 3.5 million people – and found zero evidence for the “fit but fat” theory.
Instead, people classified as “obese” according to their Body Mass Index (BMI) were at very high risk from a range of debilitating conditions.
Heart failure is 96% more likely, and coronary heart disease 49% more likely among the obese, according to academics at the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Applied Health Research.
The idea that being heavy and healthy are not mutually exclusive is occasionally revived by so-called fat activists and the “body positivity” community – often cut with various flavors of social justice jargon.
But it is becoming increasingly flimsy in the face of scientific data like this.
The risk of stroke is also up 7% among the obese – defined as those with a BMI above 30.
The results were presented this week at the Europe Congress on Obesity in Port, Portugal.
The sheer scale of the study means that the results are much more reliable than previous investigations.
Researchers admitted that there are exceptions to the BMI theory – such as professional athletes whose huge muscles can lead them to be classified as technically obese even though they are in excellent shape.
But most people are not beefcakes, and when applied across large groups the principle that obesity is unequivocally bad holds true.
Some people can be obese and suffer no ill effects through sheer luck – just like life long smokers or drinkers sometimes dodge the health risks associated with them – but health officials insisted that this should not be used to justify such a lifestyle.
Fat activists are not always pleased with scientific research.
Earlier this month, Heat Street reported that a British charity Cancer Research UK had been accused of “violence” and “body shaming” for an ad campaign pointing out the unpalatable truth that obesity is the second-biggest cause of cancer.