(NaturalNews) We often assume that if you're skinny you don't need to worry too much about exercise. However according to Professor Dick Telford of the Australian National University, findings show that a lack of fitness has an effect on death rates regardless if the person is skinny (lean) or fat (overweight not obese).
In fact one study found that a skinny or lean person who does not exercise was twice as likely to die as a fat active person. The study, published in last year's Journal of the American Medical Association
, was conducted in Dallas, Texas and involved 2,603 men and women aged 60 and over.
Those in the study had fitness and body fat levels measured and were tracked over 12 years. You were deemed fit if you walked for 30 minutes most days of the week.
The conclusion of the study was that being unfit predicted higher death rates, while just being fat did not. Therefore whatever body weight you have, you need to exercise to be fit and healthy.
Telford says that our evolution has endowed us with DNA which works best in an active body. Our predecessors were very active, and we developed our genes for strength and speed, or for endurance. This means that the relationship between our muscles and our important bodily functions is very strong.
Blood glucose levels and fat are kept under control by regularly used muscles helping to avoid damage from uncontrolled glucose and fat. If uncontrolled, the blood vessels which supply our vital organs come under attack.
Other reasons to keep fit:
1) to ward off diabetes
2) to keep dementia and Alzheimer's at bay
The fact that you can be fat
and healthy is an interesting finding and appears to be consistent with our evolution as well. Body fat was very useful during times when food was scarce or when disease struck.
Perhaps the proviso to keep in mind here is that 25% of the population who are told they are fat or overweight
are at the higher level of the normal distribution of body mass index (BMI). In relation to this, Professor John Dixon of the Centre for Obesity Research and Education says, "We think probably the healthiest way to be at the moment is right on the border of normal weight
and overweight" (SMH 20 Mar 08).
He claims that the usefulness of the overweight category is uncertain because it is not known how dangerous being a bit overweight is. In addition, very muscular people like rugby players tend to fall into the overweight category.
Dick Telford "Skinny folk can't rest easy" Health & Science section, Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday March 20, 2008-03-20
Josephine Tovey "Something funny about one figure" ibid
About the author
Lynn Berry is passionate about personal development, natural health care, justice and spirituality. She has a website at www.lynn-berry.com