HEALTHY LIVING
09/19/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Can You Be Both Fat And Fit?

Often, a visit to the doctor's office starts with a weigh-in. But is a person's weight really a reliable indicator of overall health?

Increasingly, medical research is showing that it isn't. Despite concerns about an obesity epidemic, there is growing evidence that our obsession about weight as a primary measure of health may be misguided.

Last week a report in The Archives of Internal Medicine compared weight and cardiovascular risk factors among a representative sample of more than 5,400 adults. The data suggest that half of overweight people and one-third of obese people are "metabolically healthy." That means that despite their excess pounds, many overweight and obese adults have healthy levels of "good" cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose and other risks for heart disease.

At the same time, about one out of four slim people -- those who fall into the "healthy" weight range -- actually have at least two cardiovascular risk factors typically associated with obesity, the study showed.

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