Beyond this research, lies a knotty practical question: what the science means for people with obesity and the doctors they see. Undoubtedly, “There are subtypes of obesity,” with some more harmful than others, says Sadaf Farooqi at the University of Cambridge. He suggests, people who qualify as overweight or obese should generally try to lose weight. “There is a clear correlation between gaining weight and increased risk of type 2 diabetes,” she says, “even if you don’t get it right now.” Furthermore, she and others say, obesity is associated with health problems well beyond metabolic abnormalities, including various cancers and wear and tear on joints.
OBESITY CAUSES MANY HEALTH RISKS
Many scientists say the evidence is clear that excess fat can pose significant health risks and that losing weight can improve health. But they agree with advocates that care for people with it, needs to shift from simply pressuring them to shed weight, which often fails.
“I’ve worked with so many people who’ve gone through this cycle of losing and regaining and losing and regaining,” says Cynthia Bulik, a clinical psychologist and expert in eating disorders at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the Karolinska Institute. “It’s created mental torment, it affects their relationships, it affects their social life. It affects everything.” Scientists hope their work can move the focus away from body weight and toward measurable markers of metabolic health that can be more accurately and effectively aimed.
SOME POSITIVE POINTS :
Still, some scientists, plus-size athletes, including weightlifters, dancers, and marathon runners, have long declared: Being fat doesn’t have to mean being unhealthy. There are people who are genetically prejudiced to obesity and have low cardiac risk, and that’s pretty interesting. They might be able to survive in a larger body without metabolic ill effects.