2015 Greenwood Health Kick – New Year’s Resolution!

Be as fit as you can be regardless of your weight— because there is such a thing as a healthy overweight person.

Writer / Alicia Wettrick

Thought this before? “I wish I was still at my 18-year-old body weight.” First, that is a lot of mental anguish to place on yourself. Second, it is more important to have healthy habits, even with more pounds, then to struggle for your 18-year-old ultra thin body. In fact, underweight people have higher mortality than overweight people do. Surprised?

National studies, Mayo Clinic, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s reviews of Body Mass Index (BMI, weight to height ratio) and mortality, have shown subjects with a BMI of 25-29.9, which is consider overweight, live longer than a very low BMI <18.5. In fact, the overweight subjects had a significant decrease risk of death and possible protection against mortality from all causes. Furthermore a BMI of 30-34.9, which is considered class I obesity, as well, did not have an increase death rate, although a mortality protection was not shown.

Subjects with a BMI of >35, class II and III obesity, did have a higher mortality rate just as their counter underweight subjects. In addition, if you are a diabetic, the stats do not hold true for you, a diabetic that is overweight or obese has a higher mortality rate than normal weight subjects.

Shockingly, overweight, but not obese, patients with cardiovascular disease did not have increased risks of death than normal weight. In fact, they had lower death rate than patients with a normal BMI! That is challenging because health care providers teach patients with cardiovascular disease that it is critical for them to achieve a normal BMI. Patients are pushed to get there. However, few make the goal and this often leads to frustration for patient and provider.

Mayo Clinic researchers reported, “The paradoxical findings do not mean carrying excess weight is good for heart patients. But they do suggest that better ways of measuring obesity are needed.”

The answer may lie in muscle mass!
BMI does not distinguish muscle weight from fat weight. Since muscle weights more than fat- overweight BMI patients may have increase muscle mass, than the lower BMIs. According to the Mayo Clinic, having more muscle mass over body fat leads to a longer life and possibly the reason why overweight patients have decrease mortality. Alternative measurements, such as waist circumference or waist-to-hip ratio could be a better determinant than BMI.

Therefore, you CAN be healthy and have a BMI in the overweight category — as long as you have healthy habits such as exercising, a healthy diet, no smoking, no excessive alcohol or drugs. Remember the biggest cut to an individual’s life span is being sedentary. A sedentary lifestyle negatively affects all your systems from head to toe.

So dig out the yoga pants! Bury the thought of wishing you fit in them, like you did when you were 18. Instead embrace being more healthy in 2015!

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