Lifestyle & Belief

Fit and fat? Researchers say yes, it's possible


A heavy-set female and male traveler are seen in a check-in line Nov. 5, 2004 at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois.


Tim Boyle

Fit AND fat? Research published this week suggests that yes, it's possible to be healthy and overweight.

The key is being "metabolically fit," meaning no high blood pressure, cholesterol or raised blood sugar, and exercising, according to the study in the European Heart Journal.

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"It is well known that obesity is linked to a large number of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular problems and cancer," lead author Dr. Francisco Ortega told CNN. "However, there appears to be a sub-set of obese people who seem to be protected from obesity-related metabolic complications."

Researchers analyzed data from more than 43,000 Americans between 1979 and 2003.

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More than one-third of them were obese. Of these 18,500, half were rated "metabolically healthy" after a physical examination and lab tests, according to BBC News.

Scientists found that their risk of developing cancer or heart disease was identical to people of ideal weight and half that of "metabolically less fit" obese people.

The results suggest doctors should take fitness into account when deciding if an obese person is a health risk, according to The Telegraph.