Fat and Healthy?

Here’s some refreshing news for those of us carrying around some extra pounds: being fat can actually be good for you. According to a recent study, obese people who are otherwise healthy live just as long as their slim counterparts, and are less likely to die of cardiovascular causes.

Researchers at York University’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science looked at 6,000 obese Americans over a 16-year span, comparing their mortality risk with that of lean individuals. They found that obese people who had no (or only mild) physical, psychological or physiological impairments had a higher body weight in early adulthood, were happier with this higher body weight, and had attempted to lose weight frequently during their lives. However, these people were also more likely to consume a healthy diet and be physically active.

The investigators used a newly-developed grading tool, the Edmonton Obesity Staging System (EOSS), which has been found to be more accurate than body mass index (BMI) in identifying who should try to lose weight. This tool is modeled on staging systems that classify the extent and severity of other diseases like mental illness, heart disease and cancer. The authors of the study stress that in order to determine whether or not they should lose weight, people should see a doctor to be evaluated using the EOSS criteria.