The ‘Fat but fit’ debate


There has long been a debate as to whether someone can be ‘fat but fit’ (Ref 1). The phrase is blunt, rather than sensitive, but it’s a well known one and it’s a very interesting one to explore. A study was published on January 22nd, 2021, in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. It was called “Joint association of physical activity and body mass index with cardiovascular risk: a nationwide population-based cross-sectional study” (Ref 2). It turned out to be just three pages long – a research letter more than a study – but it packed a lot into the few pages with excellent use of one graphic and one table. An accompanying press release was also informative (Ref 3).

The study

The study was Spanish – led by many researchers in Madrid. It used data from 527,662 working adults insured by a large occupational risk prevention company in Spain. The average age of participants was 42 years and 32% were women.

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