Study contradicts claims that people can be 'fat but fit'

Toni Airaksinen
Columnist at PJ Media

  • A recent study contradicts many of the claims made by advocates of "fat acceptance," debunking the notion that it is possible to be "fat but fit."
  • Many professors have argued that eliminating "weightism" is more important than encouraging obese people to lose weight, but a new study of 520,000 people found that "being healthy overweight is not true."
  • A recent study contradicts many of the claims made by advocates of "fat acceptance," debunking the notion that it is possible to be "fat but fit."

    Rebecca Puhl, a professor of Family Studies at the University of Connecticut, told The New York Times that fat-shaming has numerous negative consequences for fat people, including “increased risk of weight gain” and “maladaptive eating patterns.”

    "It's another brick in the wall of evidence that being healthy overweight is not true."   

    [RELATED: ‘Fat-shaming’ by doctors is ‘physically harmful,’ prof says]

    “There are very visible people in society making comments about people’s physical appearance in very inappropriate ways,” Puhl complained, asking, “Where are the voices saying that this is not acceptable?”

    While many professors have recently come out in support of the fat-acceptance movement, often by arguing for eliminating weight-bias instead of promoting healthy eating, new research has come out confirming that obesity is indeed a health risk.

    Most recently, Camille Lassale, a professor at the University College London, published the results of a study of 520,000 people in the European Heart Journal—the largest study to date on the impact of obesity on heart health.

    “Even if you are classified as metabolically healthy, (excess weight) was associated with an increased risk of heart disease," Lassale told CNN. "It's another brick in the wall of evidence that being healthy overweight is not true.”

    [RELATED: ‘Fat Studies’ course deems ‘weightism’ a ‘social justice issue’]

    "This reinforces the fact that obesity in itself is a risk factor," Lassale reiterated later in the interview. "Every effort should be made by health professionals to advise on lifestyle changes regardless of these metabolic factors."

    The study disproves the widespread notion in the fat-acceptance community that one can be “fat but fit,” as the study found that overweight and obese people had a significantly higher “hazard” risk than those in the normal weight range.

    “Irrespective of metabolic health, overweight and obese people had higher [Coronary Heart Disease] risk than lean people,” Lassale discovered. “These findings challenge the concept of ‘metabolically healthy obesity’, encouraging population-wide strategies to tackle obesity.”

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    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    Columnist at PJ Media
    Toni Airaksinen is Columnist at PJ Media and a Consultant at Youth Radio. She was previously a New Jersey Campus Correspondent, reporting on liberal bias and abuse for Campus Reform with a focus on Title IX, the OCR, and the First Amendment. During college, she also was a columnist for Quillette and The Columbia Spectator. Her exclusives have been featured on FOX News and The Drudge Report. She graduated from Barnard College in 2018.
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