Exercise Doesn’t Boost Health If You Stay Obese

FRIDAY, January 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) – The damaging effects of obesity on the heart cannot be reversed by exercise, and it is not possible to be “fat but healthy”, warn researchers Spanish.

“Exercise does not seem to offset the negative effects of being overweight,” said study author Alejandro Lucia, professor of exercise physiology at the European University of Madrid.

The results of the study “refute the notion that a physically active lifestyle can completely negate the deleterious effects of overweight and obesity,” he said.

Lucia and her colleagues analyzed data from nearly 528,000 working adults in Spain. The average age of the participants was 42 and almost 7 in 10 were men.

About 42% of these adults were of normal weight; 41% were overweight and 18% were obese. Most were inactive (63.5%); 12.3% exercised, but not enough, and 24.2% were regularly active.

About 30% of the participants had high cholesterol; 15% suffered from hypertension and 3% from diabetes.

Regardless of their activity level, however, overweight and obese people had a higher risk of heart disease than those with normal weight, according to the study published Jan. 22 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Compared to active people of normal weight, active obese people were about twice as likely to have high cholesterol, four times as likely to have diabetes, and five times as likely to have high blood pressure.

“You can’t be ‘fat but healthy’,” Lucia warned in a press release.

But the researchers haven’t overlooked the importance of exercise. Across all weight classes, any physical activity was associated with a lower risk of diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, according to the results. And the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure decreased as physical activity increased.

“This tells us that everyone, regardless of their body weight, needs to be physically active to protect their health,” Lucia said.

“It’s better to be more active, so walking 30 minutes a day is better than walking 15 minutes a day,” he noted.

Lucia said it was just as important to fight obesity and inactivity. “Weight loss must remain a primary objective of health policies along with the promotion of active lifestyles,” he concluded.

More information

The American Heart Association offers tips for healthy living.

SOURCE: European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, press release, January 22, 2021

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