A new study by researchers at York University in Toronto adds fuel to “fat but fit” controversy. According to the researchers, weight alone does not determine a person’s physical fitness.
The goal of this study, which involved 853 Canadians attending weight loss clinics, was to determine whether cardiorespiratory fitness can benefit heart health in people with obesity. The findings suggest that even people who are severely obese – those with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher – can have a health profile that is similar to people whose weight is in the normal range.
Forty-one percent of study participants with mild obesity, 25 percent of those with moderate obesity, and 11 percent of those with severe obesity had high fitness levels. Severely obese individuals were more likely to have high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood sugar levels, and high cholesterol if their fitness levels were in the lowest 20 percent, but not if they fell in the highest 80 percent.