Being Overweight and Being Fit…the Truth
Earlier this year a study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested that being overweight may actually be healthier than being thin. What the study failed on was the measurement it used, namely the body mass index (BMI). This tool needs to be tossed out and is highly inaccurate. Yet, it is still the primary tool in accessing weight health. When I see a study that has shows overweight as being healthier, there are both truths to it and lies.
You see, I am also considered overweight according to the BMI. Yet, my bodyfat percentage is at 8%. It’s my muscle mass that contributes to my higher weight. My waist size is around 30 inches. In fact, taking a waist measurement is more of an indicator of health versus weight. It’s all about body composition. This simply means the amount of lean tissue versus fat tissue. The BMI doesn’t take this into account and studies based on the BMI are highly flawed.
Fat location is also a determinate of health. Think of the “apple versus pear” comparison. While fat around the thigh is okay, fat around the waist is unhealthy. We know that fat around the waist means accumulation of fat around the organs and that is very unhealthy.
In the study mentioned above, what it also failed to mention was that the people who were thinner and unhealthy may have been near the end of their life. Most elderly people tend to lose weight and especially muscle mass. This process starts in one’s 30’s and continues throughout their life. That is unless they continue a fitness routine that helps to keep their muscle mass.
True obesity and being overweight is not healthy. Increased muscle mass and a smaller waistline is healthy. Those people that are thinner can be unhealthy due to underlying health issues, such as cancer and advanced aging where muscle mass is lost. One can be overweight according to the BMI and be healthy. Again, it is about body composition and where fat is accumulated. My suggestion to each person is to get an accurate measurement and go from there. If you are of normal BMI, you may be unhealthy. Measure your waistline and have your visceral (abdominal) fat checked. Men should have a waistline under 40 inches (I would shoot for under 35 inches) and women should be under 35 inches (go for 30 or less).
Make exercise as a part of your daily routine and add muscle-building exercises as well. Make sure to eat a diet that is closest to Mother Nature. You may end up being slightly overweight and healthy. Yes, more muscle weight and less belly fat. That is the sign of true healthy and fitness.