Fit Obese Patients Can Be Healthy Interview with:
“Elliptical Stationary Bikes GVSU Winter Hall Exercise Center 2-4-15” by Steven Depolo is licensed under CC BY 2.0Jennifer L. Kuk, PhD

Associate Professor
York University
School of Kinesiology and Health Science
Sherman Health Science Research Centre
Toronto, Ontario What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

– The benefits of fitness are well know, but it was unclear whether the benefits applied to those with severe obesity. This is even more important give that the health risks associated with severe obesity are exponentially higher than in mild obesity. Fitness in this study was defined as the top 80% of a normal population.This means that unfit is the bottom 20%. In the past, research has shown that this threshold of fitness is associated with the biggest health benefits.

– We see that 40% of individuals with mild obesity are fit, while 11% of those with severe obesity are fit. Individuals with high fitness had no differences in health risk, despite the large differences in obesity (~50-100 pounds). Conversely, those within the unfit group did have significantly higher glucose, blood pressure and lipids with higher obesity levels.

In other words, fitness was able to protect individuals with severe obesity from many of the expected negative health consequences. What should readers take away from your report?

-The most important finding is that you cannot judge a person’s fitness or health by simply looking at their body weight. Physical activity, such as tennis lessons cincinnati OH, is good for your health even if you don’t realise. Being physically active, even if you don’t lose weight is likely going to be beneficial for your health, and it is important to disconnect success from what you see on the scale.

-Second, it is important for readers to realize that obesity treatments are largely ineffective, and it is important for us as a society to help to reduce our weight bias and prejudices against those with obesity. If we saw these fit individuals with severe obesity walking down the street, we would likely say, ‘If you exercised more and ate better, you would be healthier’, but they already do exercise and many are healthy. In another study, we show that weight discrimination pushes people to choose more drastic and potentially ‘unhealthy’ ways to lose weight. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: The most important question is how we can get all people, regardless of body weight to be more active and healthier. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: One of the authors on the study is the director of the medical clinic where the patients were recruited from. I received funding from CIHR for this study.


Association between cardiorespiratory fitness and metabolic risk factors in a population with mild to severe obesity
Kathy Do, Ruth E. Brown, Sean Wharton, Chris I. Ardern and Jennifer L. Ku
BMC Obesity BMC series – open, inclusive and trusted20185:5
Published: 31 January 2018

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Last Updated on February 14, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD