The skinny on fit versus fat

 
By HSC Staff Writer • Published: March 7th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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Finally… some good news about fitness for seniors who work out but have some pounds to shed: It’s better to be fat and in shape than thin and out of shape.

So say researchers at the University of South Carolina who led a twelve-year study that looked at the relationships between fitness, body fat and death in older Americans.

Researchers followed twenty-six-hundred adults after rating their fitness level by treadmill exercise test and calculating their body fat by measuring waist circumference and body mass index.

Their findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reveal that Americans age sixty and over who worked out lived longer than their counterparts who worked out less but had the same amount of body fat. In fact, the twenty percent of people in the study who were least fit… no matter if they were fat or thin… had a death rate four times that of the most-fit twenty percent.

What fitness guidelines do researchers suggest for Americans sixty and older… fit or fat? All it takes is thirty minutes of brisk walking… all at once or broken up into three ten-minute walks… five days a week to be considered fit, no matter how much you weigh.

And focus on healthy habits like not smoking, managing stress, eating veggies and fruits and adding whole grains to your diet. But watch that waistline, because severe obesity… that means a forty-inch waist for men and a thirty-five-inch waist for women… leads to higher death rates.