Can a fat body be a healthy body? Using a new grading tool that takes health issues into account in addition to body mass index, it may be possible for healthy obese people to have the same lifespan as normal-weight people.
The findings were released Monday in a study in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. Researchers looked at data on 6,224 obese men and women who were followed on average for about 16 years. The participants were part of the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study who attended the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas. Their mortality risk was compared with that of a group of 23,309 normal-weight people.
In addition to completing surveys on health history, dietary habits, weight and weight loss, the participants also underwent a standard medical exam, had their blood pressure taken and fasting blood work done, and completed a treadmill exercise test.
Researchers used the Edmonton Obesity Staging System, a five-stage grading tool for determining who should lose weight, based on health risks from other diseases and conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Using this system, those in stages 0 or 1 may be so healthy they may not need to lose weight since their health issues are minimal.