Normal Weight Obesity?

I saw this article today (apparently this is ‘post articles day’ on my blog!) and thought it was great.  A lot of times we assume being thin means being healthy, but that’s not the case.  Feeding junk to a thin body is just as bad as feeding it to a big body.  Find the whole article here, here’s the intro:

The Scales Can Lie: Hidden Fat

New Study Argues Even Thin People Can Face Health Risks From Fat; It’s ‘Normal Weight Obesity’

By Ron Winslow

Can you be normal weight and fat at the same time?

That’s the implication of a provocative recent report from the Mayo Clinic, which suggests that fat in your body can get you and your heart into trouble even if you don’t look fat and if the scale tells you you’re healthy.

The Mayo researchers, led by cardiologist Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, have coined a term for the phenomenon: normal weight obesity. In a study that looked at data from 6,171 Americans with normal body size, as measured by body mass index, those with a high percentage of body fat were at significantly greater risk of future heart problems than those with low amounts of fat. Their bodies “behave like they are obese, but they are not,” Dr. Lopez-Jimenez says.

People don’t have to be overweight to have excess body fat. Instead, these people have a higher ratio of fat to muscle tissue than do people with low body fat. Indeed, even people of the same weight, or those with comparable body mass index, which factors together weight and height, can have different body-fat percentages.

Based on results of the nine-year study, as well as U.S. Census and obesity data, Dr. Lopez-Jimenez and his colleagues estimate that as many as 30 million Americans may fall into the normal-weight-obesity category, many of them unaware they may be at increased heart risk.

The study “drills down on a population where we’re making assumptions that everybody is healthy. It may well be that they’re not,” says Robert Eckel, an obesity and metabolic-syndrome expert at the University of Colorado, Denver, who wasn’t involved with the study.

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