A lot of people seem to be really concerned about the health of random strangers, and they seem to think the best way to express their neighborly concerns is to be cruel to them on the Internet. (Even though experiencing fat-shaming makes people more likely to gain weight than lose it.)
A vocal minority of fat-acceptance advocates usually tries to point out that it’s totally possible to be a large person and be healthy, but shamers just start ranting about heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc. And while there is a link between obesity and those diseases, scientists say that the link is about fitness, and it is in fact totally possible to be healthy and fat at the same time.
“Results from several prospective studies show that only obese, unfit individuals, but not obese, fit individuals, are at higher mortality risk than are normal weight fit individuals,” said a recent study from Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
The scientists are pushing for a classification of “metabolically healthy obesity,” and for doctors to look at criteria including insulin resistance, fat around the organs, and physical fitness rather than relying so much on weight and BMI. If doctors start classifying overweight patients into more specific subgroups, the scientists say, it would allow them to recommend treatments and preventive care more effectively.
Metabolically healthy vs. metabolically unhealthy obesity aren’t things a layperson can really diagnose alone, since they involve knowing how much fat is in one’s liver and the measurements of one’s insulin resistance. But since science says metabolically healthy obesity exists, maybe this research will stop people from being fat-shaming asshats to strangers in public.
I wish I could say I was optimistic about that.
Via Bustle/Image: Shutterstock