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Old 09-26-2012, 11:00 AM   #1
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Default Skinny doesn't mean healthy

Following up on a thread from last week ... came across an article.

"Research that does tease apart weight and fitness like a series of studies conducted by Steven Blair at the Cooper Institute in Dallas shows that being fat and fit is better, healthwise, than being thin and unfit."
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Old 09-26-2012, 01:15 PM   #2
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This is very interesting.

I am certainly not thin by any stretch of the imagination and still classify as obese, but I work out/train 5-6 days a week, do triathlons, 5ks, 10ks and 30+mile bike rides.

When I go to the doctor everything is 100% normal and I'm extremely fit...with the only exception being my weight.
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Old 09-26-2012, 02:12 PM   #3
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This kind of tags along with a conversation I had with my nurse practitioner on Monday about my goal weight. She is less concerned that I hit "normal" BMI than that my cholesterol numbers continue to drop and that I keep working on getting fit. She is thrilled by my weight loss but we did have the "BMI ain't all that" conversation. She is thinking that given my frame (large), my bone density (dense), my age (49) and my history (always heavy) that I should shoot for the high end of BMI or maybe even a bit higher.
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Old 09-26-2012, 02:16 PM   #4
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Absolutely, the best litmus isn't size but metabolic health, energy, overall vitality and various biophysical markers like inflammation, VO2 rates, etc.

It can be easy to lose focus of that, and to some extent obesity inhibits fitness, but the two aren't necessarily causally related. Fitness and general health can be improved at any weight, and that's what I hope the focus becomes in our culture, instead of skinny for the sake of skinny. Nothing wrong with being slender, but it isn't the end all, be all!
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Old 09-26-2012, 02:27 PM   #5
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Very true, and I couldn't agree more!
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:04 PM   #6
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I've always said a little fat is good for you. There's a reason our ancestors were a little more fond of fleshier builds.
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:04 PM   #7
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It's kind of one of those, "well duh" studies. I mean seriously, HOW can any doctor at this point not value fitness more than what the scale says? Now... will a doctor still push you to lose weight. Yes, I'm sure they will, but they should be pushing fitness on everyone and that includes the thin.

My mother in law was thin her whole adult life, well, she is terribly unfit and her health isn't great. And how can it be? Now that she's older with health problems, the doctors are encouraging her to exercise, but not until she got into her 70s.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:20 PM   #8
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I have always told my DH that I get concerned when I see someone very underweight becuz I worry that if they ever get really sick that they won't have any fat reserves to sustain them while they recuperate; and if they are also unfit, so much the worse.

We know a slim man in his forties who had two heart attacks. The doctors told him his heart was not fit; and they have him walking and swimming to strengthen it. So, I'm not really surprised about this article; and I can see why someone who is overweight, yet fit, may be in better health overall.

You are encouraging me to keep up my walking -- thanks John ...
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:07 PM   #9
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There's this girl I used to eat lunch with at school, and she's super thin, and almost everyday she'd eat a honeybun from the vending machine! >.< And one day she said, "I'm underweight, I can eat whatever I want." And I thought to my self,"That's still not healthy."
I'll be happy when I'm better at a physical activity than my skinny friends. >:3
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:10 PM   #10
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I think, everything, is relative, depending on the individual.

Case in point. My oldest son, 31 years old, 5'11'', around 185.

In most general cases he would be considered, somewhat overweight.


However, all the scientific data, does not take into consideration, that the kid is built like a brick s**t house, very muscular, has thighs like tree trunks, and biceps like logs and abs I'd die for. Is a State Trooper and Swat team member, and works out like a Banshee!

Their is not an ounce of fat on his body! He is one big muscle and eats and lives a very healthy lifestyle. He is also subject to annual physical fitness and medical testing to keep his job.

On the other hand I know a lot of rich skinny women, who end up in the hospital, over a dang cold.

Skinny isn't everything, healthy is!
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:03 AM   #11
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Living in French culture, I see the ramifications of this on a daily basis.

Being thin (and undermuscled and inactive) is the "ideal" here for women, and smoking/drinking with little nutrition is an acceptable way to do it.

However, when you start looking at women 60+, you can really start to see the awful effects of it (including those who didn't smoke or drink but just under-ate constantly). They are weak, they struggle constantly with basic physical tasks, and they age very rapidly.

My FIL's girlfriend was the 'epitome' of the French beauty, and now at 60, could not lift a pan out of my cupboard. My 2 year old son went and picked it up and brought it to me. That was just sad.

But as most of us who were once teenagers know, many people simply don't care about our later health until we realize that 60 isn't as ancient as we thought it was.
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:25 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sacha View Post
Living in French culture, I see the ramifications of this on a daily basis.

Being thin (and undermuscled and inactive) is the "ideal" here for women, and smoking/drinking with little nutrition is an acceptable way to do it.

However, when you start looking at women 60+, you can really start to see the awful effects of it (including those who didn't smoke or drink but just under-ate constantly). They are weak, they struggle constantly with basic physical tasks, and they age very rapidly.

My FIL's girlfriend was the 'epitome' of the French beauty, and now at 60, could not lift a pan out of my cupboard. My 2 year old son went and picked it up and brought it to me. That was just sad.

But as most of us who were once teenagers know, many people simply don't care about our later health until we realize that 60 isn't as ancient as we thought it was.
This is exactly how my mother in law is (European) and how her best friend is. Her friend just turned 70, she is rail thin, chain smokes and in severe pain. She just found out that 5 of her vertebrae are crushed.

Seriously, I must be one of the few who has ALWAYS looked at the old to see what the future holds (might) hold for me. It has taught me some valuable lessons.

Most, I learned, I think, in timely fashion. Just this fitness thing and weight thing I had a hard time dealing with, but not now!


I too have really noticed taht it's not only the obese you don't see around after 60s, but you don't see people over 60 looking good at all unless they've been active - for decades. I just hope I didn't start too late (turning 43 soon).
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:00 AM   #13
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I can understand the theory behind this....fitness is almost always going to be the desired outcome. But I don't like he these studies are often INTERPRETTED as overweight being better. I personally have friends and family who sight these studies as a reason to not eat right and work out very frequently. They THINK they are fit, and therefore, they are "healthy". It really discounts those individuals who ARE very fit at a higher weight. I just find it incredibly hard to believe that even half of overweight people in this country fall into the fat, but fit, category.

Added: it also bugs me when people look at the Rubenesque body shapes from hundreds of years ago and try to relate their desirability to our current age. Those women in the paintings were NOT fit. They were squishy and round. I love roundness, but it all seems like just another excuse to stay fat. There was absolutely not an emphasis on physical fitness in that era, and that body shape could ot be sustained at that time if those cherubs were running marathons...
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:58 PM   #14
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My 2 cents is why bother being skinny if you can't do anything? Seriously if I'm going to get winded from walking around the block or need someone to carry my groceries for me, I might as well embrace it and smoke and overeat too.

Looks count for some things but honestly when I sacrifice vices (high-carb junky food, smoking, drinking) it's for my health more than anything.
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickieChicks View Post
I can understand the theory behind this....fitness is almost always going to be the desired outcome. But I don't like he these studies are often INTERPRETTED as overweight being better. I personally have friends and family who sight these studies as a reason to not eat right and work out very frequently. They THINK they are fit, and therefore, they are "healthy". It really discounts those individuals who ARE very fit at a higher weight. I just find it incredibly hard to believe that even half of overweight people in this country fall into the fat, but fit, category.
This is a key point. I know for myself - and I have seen other folks here who have lost a significant amount of weight say the same thing - I had no idea how unfit I was when I was fat. I always thought of myself as relatively fit for a fat person - and perhaps I was. But on the absolute scale, I wasn't fit at all.

My knees hurt a lot of the time - I had trouble sitting though a concert, for example, because of fluid buildup in my knee that would become excruciating for a while. I had very little stamina - I could walk for half an hour or an hour, and then I'd be beat with aching knees and ankles. If I spent an afternoon in the kitchen cooking, I sat down and rested a lot between tasks, or arranged to do certain tasks while sitting.

All of this while thinking of myself as in reasonably good shape despite my weight. I simply had no idea. It wasn't until I had lost 75 or 80 pounds and found myself suddenly the sort of person who takes the stairs two at a time, did I have any idea how much I'd been robbing myself of true energy and fitness while I was fat.
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