Happy Valentines Day! Love Is Good, Heart Health Is Better.

Happy Valentine’s Day #IFPAFamily!

I hope you are able to spend some quality time with your significant other. Even if nothing is open in your neck of the woods, there is always Netflix and chill with a dash Uber Eats for the win!

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, let’s talk heart health.

Warning, some tough love was used in the study. Dr. Lucia plunges the dagger in and twists it repeatedly reporting his findings. You have been warned.

A new study, “Being fat is linked with worse heart health even in people who exercise,” shows that physical activity does not undo the negative effects of excess body weight on heart health.

Dr. Alejandro Lucia of the European University, Madrid, Spain, believes that “one cannot be ‘fat but healthy’.”

The purpose of the study was to clarify the links between activity, body weight and heart health.

The findings contradict previous studies concluding that maintaining physical activity could lessen the effects of extra body weight on heart health.

Dr. Lucia explained, “there is some evidence that fitness might mitigate the negative effects of excess body weight on heart health. It has been suggested that in adults and children, being “fat but fit” might be associated with similar cardiovascular health to being “thin but unfit”. This has led to controversial proposals for health policies to prioritize physical activity and fitness above weight loss.”

“This was the first nationwide analysis to show that being regularly active is not likely to eliminate the detrimental health effects of excess body fat. Our findings refute the notion that a physically active lifestyle can completely negate the deleterious effects of overweight and obesity.”

THE NUMBERS

 

The study used data from 527,662 working adults in Spain. The average age of the participants was 42 years old and 32% were female.

Participants were categorized as normal weight (body mass index [BMI] 20.0–24.9 kg/m2), overweight (BMI 25.0–29.9 kg/m2), or obese (BMI 30.0 kg/m2 or above).

Additionally, they were grouped by activity level:

1) (24.2 % of participants were) Regularly active, defined as doing the minimum recommended for adults by the World Health Organization. The World Health Organization – WHO, recommends that all adults do at least:

  • 150 minutes per week (and up to 300 minutes per week) of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity such as walking or brisk walking,
  • or at least 75 minutes per week (and up to 150 minutes per week) of more vigorous activities such as jogging, or a combination thereof.

2) (12.3% of participants were) Insufficiently active (some moderate to vigorous physical activity every week but less than the WHO minimum).

3) (63.5% of participants were) Inactive (no exercise).

 Participants were also categorized by their weight.

  • Normal Weight (42% of participants)
  • Average Weight (41% of participants)
  • Obese Weight (12.3%)

Also, 30% of participants had high cholesterol, 15% had high blood pressure, and 3% had diabetes.

 

CONCLUSION

 

The research team examined the associations between BMI, level of physical activity, and high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes — the three of which carry big risks for heart attack and stroke.

They found that across all BMI measurements, any physical activity was linked to a lower likelihood of diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure when compared to no exercise at all.

“Overweight and obese participants were at greater cardiovascular risk than their peers with normal weight, irrespective of activity levels. As an example, compared to inactive normal weight individuals, active obese people were approximately twice as likely to have high cholesterol, four times more likely to have diabetes, and five times more likely to have high blood pressure. Dr. Lucia said: “Exercise does not seem to compensate for the negative effects of excess weight.”

Bottomline up front, being physically active is important, but size does matter.

References:

Lucia, Dr. Alejandro. “Being Fat Linked with Worse Heart Health Even in People Who Exercise.” European Society of Cardiology, www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/Being-fat-linked-with-worse-heart-health-even-in-people-who-exercise.

“Physical Activity.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity.

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