Recent research shows that you can be fat and fit and that some fit overweight people have no greater risk for chronic diseases than normal weight people. This corroborates statements by public health experts stating that whether you're thin or obese, the key to health is to get regular exercise.
According to Time's coverage, Dr. Timothy Church, director of the Laboratory of Preventive Medicine at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, argues that being skinny isn't the whole story.
"Based on the data that our group and others have collected...we believe that getting more exercise broadly and positively influences major body systems and organs and consequently contributes to make someone metabolically healthier, including obese people," said Francisco Ortega, lead author of the first European Heart Journal paper and a research associate at the University of Granada in Spain, in a statement.
Various U.S. and European studies indicate that it is possible to be both overweight and healthy if you are metabolically healthy. Researchers found that metabolically healthy but obese participants had a 38% lower risk of dying than their metabolically unhealthy normal weight peers.
"You have to remember it doesn't take that much to be fit," says Church. "To qualify as fit, it takes about 30 minutes of walking five days a week on average. That's not a ton of caloric expenditure. It is actually quite easy physiologically to be overweight or obese, but also qualify as physically fit." Federal guidelines recommend at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week.
Find out more details about recent studies here.