In a recent study, researchers attempted to answer exactly the question asked in the title of this post. Before we dive into the results of this study and how it fits with what we already know about the subject, let’s define some key terms.
What do we mean by fitness and obesity?
Fitness, also known as cardiovascular fitness or cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), is a measure of the performance of the body’s heart, lungs, and muscles. Muscle performance includes measurements of both strength and endurance. Because of the connections between the body and the mind, fitness also affects mental alertness and emotional stability. Maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max), a laboratory measure of the maximum amount of oxygen a person can consume during exercise, is the optimal measure for CRF. However, self-reported physical activity is often used as a proxy for VO2 max in research studies because it is much easier and cheaper to evaluate.
As I discussed in a previous blog post, fat can be defined in many different ways. The most common is the Body Mass Index (BMI), a calculation of your height that takes your height and weight into account. However, we know that measurements like body fat percentage, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, waist-to-height ratio, say much more than BMI about a person’s health, metabolic risk, and risk of death. However, because of the ease and relative low cost of this measurement, the BMI is most commonly used in research studies.
What was the aim of the research study?
Back to the recently in the European Journal of Preventive CardiologyThe researchers wanted to investigate the “fit but fat” paradox. As noted in some studies, the fit-but-fat paradox suggests that obese individuals who are also active may experience a reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease that replaces the effects of their increased weight.
To address this paradox, our researchers examined the relationship between different BMI categories and physical activity levels, and the prevalence of three main risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD): high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. This was a large cross-sectional observational study that compiled data from 527,662 participants at one point in time with no follow-up period.
They used the standard BMI limits to classify people as normal weight, overweight, and obese. The physical activities were as follows: inactive (no moderate or vigorous physical activity); inadequately active (less than 150 minutes per week with moderate activity or less than 75 minutes per week with vigorous physical activity); and regularly active (150 minutes or more per week of moderate physical activity, or 75 minutes or more per week of vigorous physical activity, or a combination of both).
What were the results of the research study?
The researchers concluded that regular or inadequate activity compared to inactivity protects against high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Protection was dose-dependent for hypertension and diabetes, meaning that higher levels of activity reduced the risk to a greater extent.
However, neither regular nor insufficient physical activity compensated for the negative effects of being overweight or obese. In other words, people who were overweight or obese had a higher risk of CVD than their normal weight counterparts, regardless of their physical activity.
These results complement the existing evidence that physical activity reduces, but does not eliminate, the effects of being overweight or obese on CVD risk.
What does this study mean for me?
While the results of this study may lead some to believe that all efforts to improve health and longevity must be directed towards weight management, we must not ignore the non-weight benefits of exercise, including improvements in energy metabolism, oxidative stress, inflammation. Tissue repair and immunity.
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is important to reduce the risk of chronic disease. Therefore, your doctor may recommend weight loss treatments such as: B. behavior and lifestyle changes, medication, bariatric surgery, or a combination of the above. However, we need to remember that obesity is itself a chronic disease that a sufferer often has no immediate control over.
But something we can control is our physical activity. Whether you run, walk, swim, dance or lift light weights, we can always move more. If this helps us improve our health a little, it is a win-win situation.