Can You Be Fit And Fat? Doctors Say No
It's no surprise that obesity is a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes and other conditions, but according to a new study, published in the journal Neurology, being obese can also raise the risk of cognitive decline -- regardless of whether you're a "healthy obese" or not.
Recently, some doctors have suggested that some people are "healthy obese," meaning they are physically overweight, but don't have an increased risk of heart disease or other conditions. However, doctors looked into whether the "fat and fit" were still at risk of cognitive decline, and found that they were.
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"In the last 10 years or so, people started suggesting you could be fit and fat-you could be obese and metabolically healthy and have no health risk," Archana Singh-Manoux, lead author of the study and research director at Inserm, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, told the Wall Street Journal. "All of these [obese] individuals, whether they were metabolically healthy or not healthy, had a poor cognitive profile."
Researchers looked at 582 people and found that at the beginning of the study, approximately 40 percent were "metabolically healthy," meaning they had either one or none of the following risk factors: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high bad cholesterol levels or low good cholesterol levels.
"Obesity, in those who were metabolically healthy and unhealthy, was associated with poor cognitive function at the start of the study and greater cognitive decline over 10 years," Singh-Manoux told Fox News.
Singh-Manoux also disputed the notion that obese people can be healthy.
More than 35 percent of adults in the U.S. older than 20 are obese. In 1985, no state had an obesity rate higher than 14 percent. By 2010, no state had an obesity rate lower than 20 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An obese person's annual medical cost is $2,700 higher, in 2005 dollars, than a non-obese person, according to a recent study. In 2010 dollars, the last year data is available, that is equivalent to almost $3,000.
"The prevalence of obesity is rising--400 million adults were obese in 2005 and this number is expected to rise to over 700 million by 2015," Singh-Manoux said. "Obesity is known to have adverse effects on health; it is associated with higher risk of mortality and chronic diseases. Our results add to this list of adverse health effects, showing poorer cognitive outcomes among the obese."
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