Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Can One Be Fat And Free From Heart Disease?

Can one be fat and free from heart disease? This interesting question has in fact prompted numerous researches to find out whether exercise or weight has a greater influence on the risk of heart disease.

The latest study by researchers from Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre found that even high quantities of physical exercise would not eliminate the risk of heart disease for overweight or obese women, unless they also lose their body weights. They reported on April 28, 2008 in the Archives of Internal Medicine that being active could only lower but not eliminate risk of heart disease faced by heavy women.

The researcher examined the information from a study of nearly 39,000 women aged 54 on average, and tracked for 11 years on a number of health issues. In the study, 34 percent of the women were physically active based on government guidelines, 31 percent were overweight and 18 percent were obese. At the end of the study period, 948 women were diagnosed with heart disease.

The study found that active women with normal weight had the lowest risk of developing heart disease. Those with normal weight, but inactive lifestyles, had slightly higher risk. Active women who were either overweight or obese had the next highest risk. Overweight or obese women who were inactive had the highest risk of heart disease.

According to the researchers, about 2 in 5 women in the United States at age 50 will eventually develop cardiovascular problems.

When one is overweight or obese, the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol is very much higher. Physical activity does make an impact and does counteract all these 3 medical conditions. However, when one is overweight or obese, he or she just cannot get back to that lower risk entirely with just physical activity.

The new finding seems not well accepted by those proponents of ‘fit and fat’ theory. These health experts argued that the study is limited as the information collected was relied solely on women self-reporting their activity levels, a method that is not as reliable as a more objective fitness evaluation.

On the other hand, health professionals in the field of treating overweight patients do feel that the study’s message is important. As levels of obesity increase, heart disease is becoming a big problem. Therefore, anything that can motivate the public to maintain healthy weight is useful!

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