A new study from University College London has cast a welcome shadow of doubt over previous studies claiming obesity does not always correlate with health risks.





Healthy Obesity vs Unhealthy Obesity


Before anyone jumps on the I told you so wagon it is important to evaluate the new study findings in correlation with previous observations.


The new study, tracking ‘healthy obesity’ a record 20 years, evaluated 2,500 obese individuals with 66 of them classified as ‘healthy obese’, meaning their metabolic profiles met healthy guidelines for blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol, glucose levels and insulin resistance.


During the study period more than 50% of the healthy obese individuals slid into the unhealthy obese category and a mere 6% lost enough weight to relinquish their obese status.


Another study group of 389 ‘healthy obese’ participants found that within the first 10 years 35% had migrated into the unhealthy status, 35% within 15 years and nearly half were unhealthy metabolically within 20 years.


The conclusion? ‘Healthy Obesity’ is merely a metabolic stage with a higher risk for of ‘unhealthy obesity’ issues later down the road.


One third of the ‘healthy obese’ participants remained metabolically healthy over the course of the study. The reasons for this were not spelled out in the study however we would contend that the difference between the groups could be established with an insight into their activity levels and diet.


We have reported on a great number of TrekDesk Treadmill Desk users who have managed to lose weight but have also encouraged the concept of active health regardless of weight.


Too many Americans, in our opinion give up on exercise due to lack of time and lack of motivation set against unrealistic or unachievable goals. An active obese individual has already been shown to have a better chance of a healthy life than a sedentary thin individual.


Obesity represents the single largest health threat to the world population, manifesting increased risks of more than 58 chronic diseases, including the largest killers: heart disease, cancer and stroke. The term ‘healthy obesity’ seems at its very core to be an oxymoron.


However, with nearly 70% of the adult population in American overweight and half of this number classified as obese it is important to report on the health gains achievable with changes in activity levels and diet.


Dr. Dee Eddington summed it up best regarding the health of the nation or an individual for that matter: “You can’t get better until you don’t get worse.” Truer words were never spoken, they just aren’t a catchy tag line.


At TrekDesk we believe the ‘don’t get worse’ mantra means to walk 10,000 steps per day at a minimum with a goal of limiting any sedentary time frame to 20 minutes without at least a 5 minute upright, active break involving movement.


Americans spent more than $2.4 billion on diet programs and another $14 billion on weight loss supplements last year yet are more obese now than ever before leaving the ‘BMI challenged’ despondent and defeated. Many believe that the super sizing of America’s diet is the culprit and point to a generation of slovenly, lazy over eaters that are placing this nation’s overall health at risk. TrekDesk treadmill desk has been arguing that inactivity bears the blame for expanding waistlines since 2008 and new research from Stanford University now helps back the claim.

The study, published in the American Journal of Medicine, documents a precipitous decline in physical activity over the past decades and an increase in BMI (Body Mass Index) levels set against a caloric intake that has remained virtually unchanged.

Wait. Americans are consuming the same amount of calories as twenty years ago but are still becoming more obese? Why?  The answer is as straightforward as it is alarming.

American women reporting no physical activity in their daily lives (according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey –NHANES) leapt from 19.1% in 1994 to 51.7% in 2010. Men did not far much better increasing from a baseline of 11.4% to 43.5% in the same time period. The most dramatic increase in BMI was found among women aged 18-39.

Alarmingly the increase in abdominal obesity (a greater indicator of mortality risk than BMI) averaged an increase .37% and .27% annually over the study period for women and men respectfully.

The study authors Uri Ladabaum, Ajitha Mannalithara, Parvathi Myer and Gurkipai Singh stressed that none of these dramatic increases could be attributed to dietary changes in America and that the dramatic drop in physical activity levels was the single largest factor in the increase in obesity levels.

“We have experienced a fundamental shift since the 1980’s with the advent of computers and increased sedentary leisure activities (e.g. television, gaming). Simultaneously we have cut funding in our schools for sports and exercise classes, closed state and local parks, and changed the workplace into a totally sedentary environment. The increasingly poor health of Americans is not due to a lack of will power or resolve it’s fault lies squarely on a fundamental shift in our lifestyles towards sedentary environments and shifts in policy. These must be changed quickly to lessen the grip that obesity related diseases now holds over our nation’s health,” stated Steve Bordley, CEO of TrekDesk Treadmill Desk.

Designed to fit any existing treadmill TrekDesk treadmill desk is an affordable, full sized, height adjustable workstation that allows individuals the opportunity to gain the necessary amount of daily exercise to lose weight, maintain health, reduce stress, prevent disease, strengthen muscles, boost mood and productivity, without requiring additional time during the day or extra motivation. 

Obesity Caused by Too Little Exercise Not Too Many Calories

Summary:  Obesity levels in the United States have not leveled off as previously reported. Why should we care? Obesity related health conditions cost Americans hundreds of billions of dollars annually and pose a threat to our economy and way of life.


A new report from the Trust for America’s Health titled the State of Obesity and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation based on government statistics found that obesity in the United States increased in six states and showed no decrease in the remaining forty four.

Accenting the gravity of the issue, more states than ever (20) have an adult obesity percentage of at least 30% and nationally a full 1/3 of the adult population is classified as obese. The rate of adults over their healthy BMI (Body Mass Index) levels is nearing 70% for the entire nation as well.

In 2013 obesity rates increased in Wyoming, Tennessee, New Jersey, Idaho, Delaware and Alaska.

The south continues to outpace the rest of the country in terms of obesity levels with 9 out of the top ten most obese states.

Obesity rates are highest among poorer areas of the United States and there is a growing ethnic divide as well with 75% of African Americans overweight or obese compared to 67.2% for Caucasians.

Tragically this demographic divide extends to the childhood populations as well with 8% of African American children aged 2-19 severely obese compared to 3.9% for Caucasian children. Not coincidentally the poverty divide is shown to be a major contributing factor with 38% of African American children living below the poverty line compared to 12% of Caucasian children.

Poverty exacerbates the obesity challenge due to a lack of fresh wholesome foods and safe exercise opportunities available to the poor however a recent study out of Stanford University places most of the blame on inactivity and sedentary lifestyles .

While TrekDesk Treadmill Desk actively promotes moving while working as one partial solution it is obvious that inactivity must be attacked in more areas than simply the office. While the health benefits of a treadmill desk are well established they certainly will not fit the need of inactive children nor the hours that adults spend away from the office.

America needs a Movement Revolution that alerts all Americans to the health hazards of sedentary lifestyles.


Recent research published in the European Heart Journal and reported by the BBC  proves that employers should be focused more on metabolic fitness than obesity measures such as BMI (Body Mass Index). In fact the researchers found that it is possible to be obese yet metabolically fit as long as individuals engage in consistent levels of exercise. TrekDesk treadmill desks offer an opportunity to keep employees moving continuously throughout the workday.

Researchers at the University of South Carolina evaluated data from 43,000 participants, a third of which were classified as obese. The surprising revelation of the study was that 50% of the obese participants were metabolically fit meaning they had normal blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The key reason that half of the obese participants were metabolically healthy? Exercise. Obese participants who exercised were identical in their risks for developing and/or dying from cancer or cardiovascular disease with participants within the ideal BMI ranges and their risks were 50% less than their obese counterparts who did not engage in daily exercise.


Fat But Healthy

Amy Thompson from the British Heart Foundation was quoted in the BBC article warning that the not all fat is the same. “It is particularly important to be aware of your weight if you are carrying excess fat around your middle. The fat cells here are really active, producing toxic substances that cause damage which can lead to heart disease. Maintaining a healthy diet with lots of physical activity can to slim you down as well as reduce your risk of heart health problems.”

The challenge for most employees however is finding enough time in the day to fit in the minimally accepted daily level of physical activity of 10,000 steps per day (U.S. Surgeon General recommendation). That is where TrekDesk treadmill desk offers a solution.

Designed to fit any existing treadmill, TrekDesk treadmill desk is an affordable, full sized, height adjustable workstation that allows individuals the opportunity to gain the necessary amount of daily exercise to lose weight, maintain health, reduce stress, prevent disease, strengthen muscles, boost mood and productivity, without requiring additional time during the day or extra motivation.

“We have been advocating for years that employers need to focus more on the activity levels of their employees as opposed to their BMI,” stated Steve Bordley, CEO of TrekDesk Treadmill Desk. “The pressure of the ‘perfect BMI’ has caused many employees to abandon any hope of fitness and health by setting unobtainable parameters. The waist to height ratio is a much better indicator of metabolic health than BMI. That combined with daily minimum activity goals would go a long way to improving the health of the average employee.” 




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