THERE’S no such thing as being “healthy fat”, a study suggests.
Researchers in France found that even if people stick to a healthy diet and exercise, being obese still leaves them at a greater risk of health problems.
The study of nearly half a million people found the benefits of being active, eating fruit and vegetables, and avoiding booze and cigarettes were only “modest” in obese people.
Dr Sebastien Czernichow, of the Hopital Europeen Georges Pompidou in Paris, said: “Adults with obesity were at a higher risk of various diseases.
“Although adherence to a healthy lifestyle is associated with a reduced risk of several adverse health outcomes, it does not entirely eradicate the risk of obesity-related diseases.”
Around a quarter of English adults are obese, with a further 38 per cent overweight but not obese.
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Worldwide, experts predict 1billion people will be obese by the end of the decade.
Previous research has disputed people can be “fit but fat”, showing obese people who exercise regularly are still more likely to die early than sedentary healthy-weight people.
The latest study, published in JAMA Network Open, looked at whether living a healthy lifestyle more broadly was as beneficial in obese and and healthy-weight Brits.
Researchers looked at adults aged 40 to 73 from 2006 to 2010, asking them how regularly they exercise, how much they drink and if they smoke.
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Their diet score was higher if they regularly ate fruit, veggies, wholegrains, fish, dairy and vegetable oil, and lower if they ate more white bread or red and processed meats.
They were then tracked to see whether they developed obesity-related diseases including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, asthma, liver disease and gout.
Scoring highly for all four lifestyle measures reduced the chances of diseases by 36 per cent in people with a healthy BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9.
Obese people with BMIs of 30 that followed all four healthy lifestyle factors or more saw their risk fall by just 12 per cent compared to if they followed none at all.
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