London: Contrary to general perception, being fat may actually be healthier for you than constantly trying to be on diet, say researchers.
A new study of thousands of obese men and women found that more than one in three were perfectly healthy or had only slight health problems. They were also in better health than those who had fought a constant battle with their weight by repeatedly dieting, only to pile the pounds back on.
They say there is more to good health than how a person tips the scales -- and some people classed as overweight are fine as they are, the `Daily Mail` reported.
For their study, the researchers at Toronto`s York University who tracked the health of more than 6,000 obese men and women for an average of 16 years. They underwent medical and physical tests and their results were compared with those of thousands of people of normal weight.
This clearly revealed that being slim isn`t always superior, according to the findings published in the `Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism` journal.
It may be that some people`s genes allow them to escape many of the health consequences of being overweight. Those who are overweight but healthy may also exercise more and eat better than thin people who smoke to suppress their appetites.
And a stressed-out, sedentary person of normal weight may be in worse shape than a plump person who exercises and keeps stress levels under control.
The Canadian researchers said that rather than using body mass index, or BMI, a measure of weight compared to height, to judge whether a person needs to lose weight, doctors should look at overall health.