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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fat Can Be Healthy

Today's WALL STREET JOURNAL had the results of a new study that suggests that about half of overweight people have normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels, while some trim people suffer from some of the ills associated with obesity.

The article goes on to say that you can be hefty, but still healthy. They also say that stereotypes about body size can be misleading. In this study, 51% of overweight adults, or about 36 million people nationwide had mostly normal levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, blood fats and blood sugar. But, about a fourth of adults in the recommended weight range had unhealthy levels of at least two of these measures.

It's well known that thin people can develop heart related problems and that fat people often don't, but the millions that defy the stereotypes came as a surprise. Health officials rely on the body mass index, a weight height ratio that doesn't distinguish between fat and lean tissue. The limits of that method were highlighted a while back when it was reported that this system would put nearly half of NBA players in the overweight category.

Of course, there's always a downer. Half of overweight people do face elevated risks for heart disease, but for thosewithout elevated risks, losing weight might be important only from a cosmetic perspective.

This is good news. Now maybe doctors won't be bugging me to lose weight even though my blood pressure is normal and my good cholesterol is extremely high. I probably have a more healthful diet (lots of fish and chicken and fruits and vegetables) than most of my thinner friends. I drink lots of water and very little soda, diet or otherwise. My biggest vices are cookies and chocolate, and I'm working on the chocolate.

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