A new study conducted by Imperial College London and published in the European Heart Journal has disproved the idea that you can be ‘fat but fit’. So what does this research mean for us living in Lincolnshire?
The term, ‘fat but fit’, described those who are classified as medically obese but are metabolically healthy, maintaining healthy rates of blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
Over half a million people participated in the study, lasting 12 years, which concluded that those who were obese but kept a healthy metabolic rate were 28% more likely to develop heart disease when compared to their leaner counterparts who had similar metabolic levels.
Obesity used to be seen as the cause of other health problems, like a high levels of glucose and a high metabolic rate, leading to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
But now body fat alone is shown to be an independent risk to an individual’s health.
This information could come as a concern to many, as 64.8% of the national population were deemed to be overweight or obese.
In the UK, those who have a BMI (body mass index) of over 25.0 are considered overweight and those who score over 29.9 gain the classification of obese.
What does this mean for Lincolnshire?
As a whole Lincolnshire recorded higher levels of obesity among adults, with 69.9% of the population falling into that category.
However, there is a large disparity within the county itself.
Boston, named the most obese town in the UK just this year, averaged the highest rates of excess weight in Lincolnshire, with 73.8% residents being declared overweight or obese.
For comparison, Lincoln came in at 66.1%.
Tony McGinty, interim director of public health at Lincolnshire County Council, spoke candidly about the issues facing the county.
He said: “I am concerned. When ⅔ of your population is overweight that is a store of problems.”
He went on to state that the results published “didn’t show us anything we didn’t know” but instead provided important new information for the general public.
When asked what should be done to tackle obesity in Lincolnshire, he added that government intervention, such as tackling hidden sugars, could work but ultimately “it’s all about what we can do as individuals”
The highest rates of obesity in Lincolnshire are found in Boston, South Holland and West Lindsey.
A greater concern may be Lincolnshire’s increased rate in childhood obesity which rose 1.8% from 2015 to 20.2%.
Boston reported 22.2% of its children as obese, a surprisingly positive figure considering that just two years ago, 27.1% of children in the town were deemed obese.
From the study it could be inferred that Lincolnshire may be at a higher risk of heart disease especially as obesity is on the rise.
But don’t worry there’s good news! Health experts suggest that the risk of heart disease can be lowered through preventative measures such as exercise, no smoking, healthy eating, and cutting down on alcohol.