Friday, March 24, 2006

Fat not good, even if fit

A large, new study concludes that while both fitness and fatness are important, no amount of physical activity can erase the risks of being overweight.

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston measured a variety of risk factors for heart disease among more than 27,000 healthy middle-age women participating in the ongoing Women's Health Study.

Being either overweight or inactive each independently raised risk factors for heart disease, the researchers found. While women at any weight reduced their risks by exercising, being overweight appeared to be worse than being inactive, the researchers found. Even thin couch potatoes had lower risks than active women who were just a little overweight, the researchers found.

Compared with normal weight women, ''women who were overweight or obese had 2 to 10 times increased levels of risk factors that increase women's risk for heart attack and stroke, such as cholesterol and inflammation,'' Mora reported. Women who were physically inactive, whether they had normal weight or elevated weight, also had 5 to 50 per cent higher levels of these risk biomarkers, she added.

"The message should really be to get out there and be active no matter what you weigh, even if it's just for 30 minutes a day. Both are important."

Need another reason to exercise?

Sudden cardiac death during exertion is an extremely rare occurrence in women, and regular moderate to vigorous exercise may significantly lower the long-term risk, accoridng to a new study.

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