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BOOSTER SHOTS: Oddities, musings and news from the
health world

Lacey Schwimmer of 'DWTS': Can you be curvy and fit?

October 04, 2011|By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
  • Lacey Schwimmer, shown here with partner Chaz Bono on "Dancing With the Stars," has been criticized for her weight.
Lacey Schwimmer, shown here with partner Chaz Bono on "Dancing With… (Adam Taylor / Associated…)

Is "Dancing With the Stars" pro Lacey Schwimmer too fat to dance? That's the debate swirling around the dancer, who's been criticized lately for being too heavy to tango. She's partnered on the current season with Chaz Bono, who's been disparaged himself for being the show's first transgender competitor.

While Schwimmer appears to be heavier than the other rail-thin dancers on the show, we'd hardly call her fat. Apparently she's OK with her size, having allegedly told In Touch, "I have boobs, I have a huge butt and I have a lot of muscle. "I like having curves--I'm proud of them!"

In 2009 Schwimmer revealed to "Access Hollywood" that she battled anorexia as a teen. "I was really, really scary thin," she told the show, and described her rigorous training schedule. When she joined the show at age 19 the eating disorder and dieting came back, but she has since said she feels comfortable in her own skin.

She's not the only personality in the spotlight for weight. issues New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been attacked for his corpulence amid speculation that he'll run for president (he announced Tuesday that he's not seeking the office). The criticism of Christie was becoming so heated that the Obesity Society came to his defense, issuing a statement htat said body weight should not be linked to "character, credentials, talents, leadership, or contributions to society," and that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Slim people can be unhealthy.

Both incidents bring up the fat versus fit debate--can someone be fit despite having extra pounds? One 2008 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine collected data on 38,987 women; in the beginning they had no cardiovascular disease, cancer or diabetes. They were followed for an average of 11 years and their weight, height and physical activity were noted, as was incidence of coronary heart disease.

Researchers found that the risk of coronary heart disease linked with a higher body mass index can be decreased by being active. But in the study, exercise didn't completely eliminate the risk.

Similar results were found in a 2004 New England Journal of Medicine study that followed 116,564 women who were also healthy at the start of the study. In 24 years of follow-up, 10,282 women died of cardiovascular disease, cancer and other causes. Having more weight was associated with a higher risk of death in spite of physical activity levels. Being fit lowered the death rate among all weight categories, but again, it didn't completely eradicate the risk.

Do you have extra pounds but try to stay fit? Does being active make a difference in how you feel? Let us know.

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