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Not All Overweight People Are Unhealthy, Study Says

New Studies Say You Can Be "Healthy Obese"

New studies show that weight shouldn't be the only factor when determining whether or not someone is unhealthy. In fact, the studies show, certain obese people may actually be healthy.

The first study surveyed 8,000 Americans and found that not all those who qualified as obese — over 30 on the BMI scale — had health problems. It found that 20 percent of obese participants were what one of the study researchers described as "pretty healthy despite being large."

Your BMI, or body mass index, is determined by calculating your weight relative to your height. But many experts agree that a BMI number doesn't always correlate to how healthy you are.


Read on for more about the new findings after the break.

How can you be overweight but still healthy? Genetics as well as lifestyle habits, including diet and fitness level, both play a part in whether or not an overweight person develops chronic complications due to their weight. So, researchers say, we should be looking at more than just a person's weight when deciding whether or not they are unhealthy.

A better way to look at weight is to take into account a person's overall body condition, say researchers from the second study. This study looked at overweight people and categorized them based on a ranking system — from stage zero, which means that although they are overweight they have no related complications, to stage four, which means the person has obesity-related chronic disease and other disabilities. This system, the study found, was better at predicting a person's death from obesity-related complications than their BMI score.

These findings may not be all that surprising, but they do emphasize just how important exercise is, and not just for dropping pounds. A healthy lifestyle, no matter what your weight, is what helps prevent life-threatening conditions and chronic disease.

Image Source: Thinkstock
Join The Conversation
tigr3bianca tigr3bianca 6 years
People focus on the wrong numbers. The numbers you should be focused on are cholesterol, insulin response, blood pressure and time spent exercising. These numbers can be bad even if you are perfectly skinny and are better indicators of bad health.
lolalollipop lolalollipop 6 years
Related Lola Lollipop Comic Strip:
amber512 amber512 6 years
Exactly! I love your last sentence wackdoodle. "It's not your size or weight, it's how you live and move."
wackdoodle wackdoodle 6 years
The new report isn't necessarily misleading, well it's not anymore misleading than the overall improper use of the BMI. It's simply stating something that some people believe, some people know and some people think is impossible. It's not your size or weight its how you live and move.
kellycc kellycc 6 years
This is misleading. Those people that are "obese" according to BMI, can also include people with higher muscle mass (a few of my friends are extremely lean and cut but are considered "overweight" on the BMI scale). So of course people with a high BMI could be considered healthy!
trinachka trinachka 6 years
Did you read Jess Weiner's take on this in the latest Glamour (
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