Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fit over fat?

I'd like to discuss the below excerpts from a Forbes article by Lacey Rose and Leah Hoffmann, as I strongly agree with the underlying health claims within.

"Joanne Ikeda, a nutritionist at the University of California at Berkeley, 'It's not about how we can help people lose weight; it's about how we can help them be healthier.' Despite popular diets' one-size-fits-all claims, she says there is not one single way to be healthy."

"Lean unfit people actually had a higher risk of death than the 'overfat' physically fit people," says Dr. Andrew Jackson, professor at the University of Houston and one of the study's authors."

In today's society we peg people as skinny (healthy) and overweight/fat (unhealthy), and this generalization is certainly incorrect in many, many instances. American's, as we well know, are under an immense amount of pressure to achieve and maintain a thin, attractive appearance...but health goes far beyond aesthetic preferences and social acceptance. While I took slight offense to my husband regarding my body as that of a "softball player" while out on a hike recently...I simply picked up my pace as if to say, "what's your point?!". And for the record, it's a hockey player's body, my dear.

I am not suggesting that 500-lb Smack-Jack is at a significantly lower risk of Metabolic Syndrome [1] because he swims laps five times a week...absolutely not. However, a shout-out goes out to all you adults who maintain a weight within or close to within BMI suggestive guidelines [2] while maintaining an active lifestyle (moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 30 consecutive minutes most days of the week). Lighten up about the scale already and rejoice in knowing your next workout, and every workout, is duly noted by each and every of the billions and trillions of cells involved in your overall health and well-being.

[1] Metabolic Syndrome is defined as a group of metabolic risk factors: central/abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, hypertension, prothrombotic state, and/or a pro-inflammatory state (source: American Heart Association).

[2] A BMI (body mass index) between 18.5 and 24.9 is classified as "normal", a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is classified as "overweight", and a BMI over 30 is classified as "obese". To find out your BMI, click here.

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