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.


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