Anyone with more than just a passing acquaintance with a gym membership, personal trainer or Hip-Hop Abs workout video, knows that skinny does not always equal healthy. You can be the slimmest thing walking and still have an unhealthy body mass index (BMI).

But we were still told that being overweight was unhealthy anyway we sliced it.

Until now.

According to a new study, physical fitness is a better indication of health than BMI. Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, published the ground-breaking study which observed 14,000 men and women over a six year period. The findings were at the very least, surprising:

In those men and women who were overweight with higher physical fitness levels, there was a 19% lower risk of heart disease and stroke related deaths and a 15% lower risk of death from any other cause. According to the study, those men and women who were in the normal weight range, but less physically fit, were more likely to face death.

Lead researcher, Duck-chul Lee, Ph.D., says this is a very good development for those people who become depressed, or lose momentum in their weight-loss programs when the pounds just don’t seem to fall off. “This is good news for people who are physically active but can’t seem to lose weight,” said Lee. “You can worry less about your weight as long as you continue to maintain or increase your fitness levels.”

There are other health dangers—besides a proven higher risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol and blood-pressure, and diabetes–that being overweight can introduce into a person’s life, among them being low self-esteem and depression.

– Kirsten West Savali

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  1. It’s impossible to t=be fat and healthy. This is completely absurd. Even when NFL linemen, who are usually playing their position at at least 100 pounds overweight, they have to lose weight or they’ll suffer the consequences. I wouldn’t trust shit coming out of the American Heart Association’s Journal. Get outta here with this bs

  2. I happen to agree with this as long as we use the term overweight and not obese. I was overweight and doing triathlons. It is hard for me to lose pounds so I totally can dig their findings. I think when it comes to the BMI charts they are very harsh. Someone 5’6 168lbs who is toned is considered overweight. I did end up losing the extra pounds but I was probably just as healthy then as I am now. I also wrote an article recently that is somewhat related “Can you be happy and unhealthy?”

  3. Once a person is overweight, her body is out of balance. C’mon folks, let’s not make excuses for eating too much or eating bad. Keep it 100, once you start down the path of eating bad you will not be able to keep the weight off if you are forced to stop working out.

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