Fit or Fat?

How much importance should we put on weight in determining overall health?  A new study says weight should take a back seat to overall fitness when assessing the health of an individual.  Essentially, an overweight fit person is healthier than an out of shape string bean.

At first blush the idea makes sense.  I certainly know folks who’d qualify as overweight (I hate BMI measurements) but could out run and out lift me.  As well as the skinny person who gasps going up a flight of stairs.

But is fitness really that much more important?  Are docs paying too much attention to the number on the scale instead of lung capacity, heart strength, and muscle tone?

I’d resoundingly say yes.  I think the BMI system is flawed.  And I think we spend too much time concentrating on the number on the scale.  I once compared it to the usefulness of the balance of checking account in assessing financial health.

Obviously, fitness over weight only makes sense to a point.  Certainly one can affect the other.  An obese individual will have a hard time becoming more fit without losing weight.  And a fit person will generally maintain a healthier weight.

But, understand this: Solely trying to lose weight is always a wrongheaded approach.  Trying to get healthy through building good eating and exercise habits is the key.  Concentrate on those and weight loss will come whether it’s important or not…


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