Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Employee Health: Can You Be Healthy and Overweight?

This much-debated topic has gone round and round in the medical and fitness community. Is it possible to be overweight and still be healthy?

On one side of the coin, researchers speculate that if an overweight or obese person has normal blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels, there is no reason to push weight loss. On the other side, a study published by Circulation online in 2009 concluded that overweight (body mass of greater than 25) individuals with no abnormalities of blood pressure, cholesterol, or glucose have a 50 percent increased risk of developing heart disease compared to those of normal weight (body mass of less than 25). Beyond being bad for your heart, increased weight increases the risk of cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Regardless of what side of the debate you fall on, one thing is unanimous: Fitness is key and pounds matter less than type of body fat. That is where a worksite wellness program and corporate fitness staff can come into play to help you identify and reduce your dangerous fat.

Recently there has been a push to look beyond the standard BMI (body mass index) measurement and into true body composition testing. Skinfold testing, BOD POD, and underwater weighing are just a few of the tests available to determine the true percentage of body fat.

BMI does serve a purpose, but it also has its shortcomings. For example, check out the Shapely Prose blog by Kate Harding. She runs a “BMI Project,” a series of photos of individuals of different sizes with their BMI levels. It’s a glaring example of how skewed the BMI measurement can be at times. 

The fact is that being overweight or obese is not necessarily good for you, but more importantly being overfat is the largest concern. So eat a balanced diet, get plenty of exercise, and take care of yourself. Regardless of the debate, you have only one body, so take care of it!

Topics: employee health overweight employees corporate fitness