Is There Really Such A Thing As “Healthy Obesity”? Read to find out!
Can someone be obese and healthy at the same time? New research issued in the Annals of Human Biology sought to answer this question. In it, Dr. William Johnson—from the School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences in the United Kingdom’s Loughborough—presented the notion that the term “healthy obesity” should be scrapped.
What Exactly Is Healthy?
If you ask Sharon Zarabi, RD, the bariatric program director at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital, she will tell you that it’s not helpful to claim that an obese person can’t be healthy. She believes that we need to stop using BMI to categorize someone as overweight or unhealthy.
For Zarabi, redefining health should include looking into the sleep patterns, fitness level, vitamin intake, joint pain, breathing, energy, happiness, as well as social interactions of a person. Other tests can also examine health more holistically, like the “sit test” to conclude if someone can get up from a chair easily.
The Stigma That Obese People Face
Rebecca Scritchfield, a certified dietician nutritionist and writer of “Body Kindness,” was disappointed, though, that the study didn’t mention the stigma most obese patients encounter in the medical field. She pointed out that there are some cases of obese folks being told they’re healthy despite being overweight.
Furthermore, Scritchfield added that there’s also a lot of studies out there on how weight bias is detrimental to health and could even decrease life expectancy. In general, obese people often avoid medical doctors simply because they don’t look forward to being lectured on their weight.
Although overweight folks are often at a higher risk of experiencing health complications, their weight doesn’t guarantee that they’ll eventually have those complications. People who aren’t in the same weight as an obese person can also have the same complications. So for Scritchfield, it isn’t absurd that the term “healthy obesity” should exist.
Receiving Proper Treatment
In the end, having a debate on whether or not the term “healthy obesity” should exist might not even help those who are trying to stay healthy. Doctors should just concentrate on how their patients could feel more comfortable, so they wouldn’t shy away from getting treatment.
It is better for physicians to ask their obese patients if they work out or take steps to eat healthily instead of assuming that they don’t. They should treat them as they would their patients who aren’t overweight since health is individual. It is dependent on various factors and is not solely weight dependent.
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