Weight loss hopes & dreams: Is it better to be thin or fit?

Post written by Dr. Rick Reifenberg, MD

When it comes to heart health, is it better to be thin or fit?

The short answer, of course, is that it is best to be both at a healthy weight and fitBut if you could only be one, which would be better? 

The answer from this 2012 article in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology may surprise you.

What did they study?

Researchers followed over 3,000 patients for 6 years and kept track of their weight and body fat percentage, their fitness level (measured by a treadmill test), and their relative chances of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or metabolic syndrome (an early form of diabetes).

What were the results?

The patients received at least 3 medical examinations over a six year period.  Maintaining or improving fitness level went along with a lower risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or metabolic syndrome.  Not surprisingly, patients who gained weight during the study had a higher risk of developing all 3 problems.  However, in the patients who gained weight but still managed to improve their fitness level, they had a much lower risk of developing any of the 3 problems than those who gained weight but were not fit.

What does this mean?

Improving fitness and working towards having a healthy weight are both important to reduce the risk of developing heart risk factors in otherwise healthy adults.  Keep in mind that keeping a high fitness level (regular exercise!) can protect you from heart disease even if your weight is higher than ideal.


What are YOUR hopes & dreams for weight loss? How are you making them a reality?

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