After a whole lot of OBESITY EPIDEMIC OMG!!1! in the news lately, finally we have some good news in the New York Times, where the headline reads “Better to Be Fat and Fit Than Skinny and Unfit.”
The researchers chalk it up in part to the assumptions people make when they hear the words “overweight” and “obese” and immediately envision the extreme end of the weight spectrum instead of understanding what certain BMI numbers actually look like. (Could they be getting that idea from the fact that the media accompanies most articles and news stories about overweight with alarmist headless fatty pictures? Good fucking god.)
The part of the article that Weetabix pulled out is my favorite too:
But the most striking finding was that fitness level, regardless of body mass index, was the strongest predictor of mortality risk. Those with the lowest level of fitness, as measured on treadmill tests, were four times as likely to die during the 12-year study than those with the highest level of fitness. Even those who had just a minimal level of fitness had half the risk of dying compared with those who were least fit.
During the test, the treadmill moved at a brisk walking pace as the grade increased each minute. In the study, it didn’t take much to qualify as fit. For men, it meant staying on the treadmill at least 8 minutes; for women, 5.5 minutes. The people who fell below those levels, whether fat or thin, were at highest risk.
I guess the knee-jerk fat haters will have to start carrying around treadmills, so they can make fat people do the treadmill test before they know if they should be berating them or not. Maybe I should start a line of BFD-branded portable treadmills! The slogan could be “if they are brisk walkin’, you can’t be shit talkin’!”
Okay, it needs work. And obviously I don’t think people should be berated based on their fitness level at all, fat or thin. But the point is that it’s good to see such a high-profile article emphasizing the idea that fitness trumps fatness, and that BMI is not the be-all and end all of health. As for me, I recently upped my workout to 60 minutes on the elliptical. So bring on the treadmill test; I’m ready.
Posted by mo pie