Prevalence of obesity has made people more conscious of how their lifestyle choices can affect quality of life. Obesity leads to diseases or health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Hence, obese people have higher mortality rates than those who are not. In the quest to enhance longevity, health experts advice people to engage in physical activities.
While fat is a risk factor in developing some health problems, it is a misconception that fat people are not physically fit. On the other hand, it is erroneous to believe that slim people are healthy.
This leads to the question, should one focus on losing weight or staying physically fit to live longer? The following considerations elaborate on what matters more in determining longevity.
Physical activity is key in maintaining a healthy body and increasing one’s lifespan. According to a National Institutes of Health, American Association of Retired Persons Diet and Health study involving 252,925 men, individuals who engage in moderate activity (about 30 minutes in most days of the week) have a lower risk of death than those who do not.
It is worth noting that some individuals become overweight because of increased muscle volume. Nonetheless, being overweight is a risk factor in developing heart diseases and diabetes.
Weight vs. Fat
Weight only becomes a problem when an individual does not engage in physical activities. An individual can be overweight and fit at the same.
Some individuals have a genetic predisposition to be fat, irrespective of whether they engage on regular exercise or not. Overweight but fit people are healthy because weight does not cause lifestyle diseases; rather, it is mostly cholesterol.
High cholesterol levels are more common in fat people, not overweight people. An individual can appear normal, in regard of weight, yet have excess fat deposits in risky regions of the body such as their belly. Therefore, it is worth noting that excess fat, rather than weight, results in a shorter lifespan.
Fat vs. Fitness
Generally, people who engage in little or no physical activity have a high mortality rate when compared to fit ones. According to Dr. Steven Blair, Director of Research at the Cooper Institute of Aerobics Research in Dallas, thin but unfit people have death rates twice as high as those of obese but fit counterparts.
This implies that unfit people, irrespective of whether they are fat or not, have a shorter lifespan than fit counterparts.
The implication of these considerations, therefore, is that longevity is directly associated to fitness, not weight. Thin people who lead sedentary lifestyles have a higher risk of developing health problems, such as heart disease and high cholesterol levels, than fat people who engage in at least 30 minutes of regular exercise.