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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Fit but Fat?


This has been an age old question: Can you still be "fit" even though you are overweight? A new study in Archives of Internal Medicine found that even though people they studied were overweight, more than half of them did not have very much risk for heart disease.

The researchers found:
  • 23% of normal weight adults are at risk for heart disease
  • 49% of overweight adults are at risk for heart disease
  • 68% of obese adults are at risk for heart disease

It is really difficult to just look at weight when assessing risk of heart disease and not pay attention to other factors. The researchers did find that many of the normal weight people with risk factors smoked and didn't work out. The obese individuals who were more heart healthy exercised more.

I think this study supports other research in the past that shows that just being overweight does in fact increase risk of disease (many diseases, not just heart). It also suggests that even if you are overweight or obese, you can reduce risk of disease by staying fit.

Bottom line

If getting down to your "ideal" weight is unrealistic for you, at least shedding a few pounds will improve your health. If you struggle to lose weight, keeping an active lifestyle and including healthy foods in your diet will help to minimize risk, regardless of whether you lose weight or not.

Photo courtesy of brogansurvey.com
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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