Can You Be Obese and Healthy at the Same Time?

obese and healthy

We often hear that obesity poses a lot of risk for human health, including cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and several types of cancer. However, in the past couple of years, we have heard a lot about the “fat acceptance movement” which proclaims that you can be obese and healthy at the same time.

So, are these claims true, or are obese people not as healthy as fit individuals?

Obesity Health Risks

As many studies have found throughout previous decades, there are many health risks to being overweight. Here are some of the most common ones.

  • Heart disease – obesity is strongly connected to various types of heart disease, including congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, and stroke. High blood pressure is also three times more likely in overweight than normal-weight individuals.
  • Diabetes – obesity is one of the key risk factors for type 2 diabetes. In fact, scientists believe that obesity accounts for more than 80% of type 2 diabetes risk, while obese people have 80 times more chances to develop this condition.
  • Several cancers – being overweight or obese increases your chances of kidney, liver, pancreatic, bowel, breast, and at least five other cancers.

Being Obese and Healthy

However, data shows that not all obese people are necessarily unhealthy. This is because, in determining who is obese and who has hypertension we use cut-offs (BMI of over 30 is obese and 140/90 is considered high blood pressure). Thus, some people can be obese but considered healthy.

Furthermore, it’s possible that two people with the same BMI have health differences. Scientists agree that we need more research to see why this happens, but it seems that factors like smoking in adolescence and being obese for more time may have an effect.


While it’s possible to be obese and healthy, obesity still has important health implications, especially if you’ve been obese for longer. Exercise and eat a balanced diet to keep yourself healthy.

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