Have you ever heard the term “skinny fat?” If not, that’s okay. Let me take a minute to explain it.
There are some people out there who look healthy. They have a “normal” BMI (body mass index) and weight and would certainly never be labeled “fat.”
BMI stands for body mass index, a measurement of height and weight to assess health.
But there is a growing body of research that shows unseen fat can be more dangerous than what a person shows off.
A new study in the American Journal of Cardiology is showing that fat location can play a key role in health outcomes.
Researchers wanted to learn if fat around the heart, called pericardial fat, was an independent risk for heart failure. After examining 7,000 45–85-year-olds for more than 17 years, they found that it was.
Regardless of whether people were thin, overweight, or obese, excess fat around the heart increased the risk of heart failure. Although doctors still have to determine why, it could have something to do with the location of the fat and its effect on heart function.
This research is important because it reinforces the point that you can’t necessarily see health. Looking a certain way or having a certain weight doesn’t mean a person is out of the woods when it comes to heart health.
Of course, weight plays a role in overall health, but it is not the be-all-end-all. That’s why it’s always recommended to maintain a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, minimize processed food intake, and engage in an activity.
You know those people who eat all the junk food, go back for thirds, and don’t gain weight? You might not be able to tell, but their insides may not look great. Their hearts could be surrounded by fat, and it could be risking their lives.
In short, it is recommended to achieve a healthy body weight through health-promoting measures. But remember, the scale doesn’t tell the whole story.