A study published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association reinforces what I, and other followers of the Health at Every Size movement, have been saying all along: It’s fitness, not fatness, that’s key to good health.
Researchers, led by Dr. Xumei Sui of the University of South Carolina and Columbia, studied the effects of fitness in adults over the age of 60. Sui and his colleagues showed that the adults who were more fit, lived longer – regardless of body fat.
It also revealed no significant differences in body fat measures between those who died and those who survived. Oops, so much for the Obesity Kills! scaremongering.
The authors concluded that:
“In this study population, fitness was a significant mortality predictor in older adults, independent of overall or abdominal adiposity.”
“Clinicians should consider the importance of preserving functional capacity by recommending regular physical activity for older individuals, normal-weight and overweight alike,” they added.
“We observed that fit individuals who were obese (such as those with BMI of 30.0 to 34.9, abdominal obesity, or excessive percent body fat) had a lower risk of all-cause mortality than did unfit, normal-weight, or lean individuals.“
Of course, you’re still gonna die at some point. But, chances are, it won’t be the fat that kills you.