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“Fat but fit” myth debunked by scientists

Obese people who seem to be healthy are 96% more likely to develop heart failure, as a new five-year-long study from the University of Birmingham showed.

Although there are over 7,000 posts on Instagram featuring the hashtag #fatbutfit, obese people who seem fit are more likely to develop heart failure, coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, as the Independent reports.

The study compared the health levels of an overweight person, who was otherwise healthy, with someone that had a normal weight to see if there were any differences. The health levels of the participants were defined by their BMIs. Underweight people were classified as having a CMI of 18.5 or under, overweight people were classified as having a BMI between 25 and 30, while obese people had BMIs of 30 or more. Those who had BMIs between 18.5 and 25 were defined as normal.

The individuals who were “metabolically healthy obese” (which meant they do not suffer from abnormalities such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure) were more at risk to develop cardiovascular diseases, as opposed to participants with normal weights.

The findings prove that “fat but fit” is simply a myth. “Metabolically healthy obesity is not a harmless condition, and it would be incorrect to think so. It’s actually better not to use this term as it can create a lot of confusion,” Dr Rishi Caleyachetty, the study’s author, said.

Daisy Wilder

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