Sana hates going to a hospital. She knows the doctor will want to check her weight as soon as she steps into the doctor’s office! Sana is 38, 5’4 and weighs 75 kg. Her doctor always tells her to lose 15 kg to be healthy. But Sana IS healthy. She has great figures for BP, Cholesterol and Blood Sugar. Why is she still called “unhealthy”?
A recent study conducted in the USA will shock most of you. “In the study, about 51 percent of overweight adults, or roughly 36 million people nationwide, had mostly normal levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, blood fats called triglycerides and blood sugar. Almost one-third of obese adults, or nearly 20 million people, also were in this healthy range, meaning that none or only one of those measures was abnormal. Yet about a fourth of adults in the recommended-weight range had unhealthy levels of at least two of these measures. That means some 16 million of them are at risk for heart problems. It's no secret that thin people can develop heart-related problems and that fat people often do not. But that millions defy the stereotypes will come as a surprise to many people.”
Is Fat ALWAYS Unhealthy?
As long as you have all the measurements in control and are not constantly increasing in size, you MIGHT be healthy. Fat people can be healthy only if they are fit and active. It is also important to note that fat people can be considered healthy only if they are not grossly obese.
The simple reason that Fat is not usually healthy is that most fat people are inactive. Big bodies do not allow them to work out or lead active lives. A sedentary lifestyle coupled with High BP, High Blood Sugar and High Cholesterol, makes this the unhealthiest group of all!
But if you are overweight without being so obese that you could hardly walk, you can still be healthy. All you need to focus on is your activity and fitness levels. Experts feel that “Fitness” and not “Weight” is the key factor that marks good health.
Is Thin ALWAYS Healthy?
Most people believe that since fat is unhealthy, thin must necessarily be healthy! Is it?
As the study mentioned above points out, thin people are also exposed to health risks like heart disease, diabetes etc. What’s more, sometimes thin people have fat inside! This is what is referred to as “Visceral Fat” (fat around internal organs) and is considered much more unhealthy than the fat deposited under the skin. Studies point that people who rely on dieting alone to keep weight under control are prone to visceral fat. This means that if you control your weight only by limiting your calories, you might be fat on the inside, with big depositions of fat around your vital organs!!!
Excessive obsession with being thin often makes women anorexic or bulimic. Anorexia and Bulimia are very serious conditions and need to be treated properly. Both these conditions can make a person weak and washed out. More importantly, these conditions have lasting psychological effects that are often difficult to deal with.
Weight Or Fitness, What Is Your Goal?
The whole idea of this discussion is to show that body size or body weight do not necessarily determine how healthy or unhealthy you might be! The most important parameter of good health is fitness. Can you jog for 20 minutes straight? You cannot be unhealthy if you can do that, no matter what your weight might be! Similarly, if you can climb 5 flights of stairs in one go, you are Fit and Healthy. But if you start panting after doing just one flight of stairs, being thin won’t do you any good!
I insist that being in the “normal weight range” is always better than being overweight. But it is important to shift the focus from weight and to Fitness. So what would you rather be? Fat and Healthy or Thin and Unhealthy?