Can you be overweight and still be fit? A top nutritionist reveals it all

If you’ve always wondered if overweight people can be fit, we have all the answers for you. Read on to know what an expert has to say.
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More bodyweight doesn’t mean you can’t be fit. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Geetika Sachdev Updated: 25 Oct 2021, 04:22 pm IST
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Popular culture has indoctrinated certain ideas in our minds. One of them is that if you are thin, you most definitely are fit as a fiddle. But if you are overweight, things are not quite right. But is that really so? Is your weight a true indicator of your fitness levels? We know you want all these answers.

That’s exactly why we are here to break it all down, but before that let’s understand a little about body mass index.

overweight and fertility
Many wonder if being overweight and staying fit go hand-in-hand. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
What is body mass index?

You may have heard this term a million times, but what does body mass index or BMI really mean? It is the ratio of your height to weight that determines if you are at a healthy body weight. Although in most cases, BMI can tell you if you are overweight, or not. It does not take into account the fact that you might be muscular or short, or even elderly.

If you want to find out your risk for obesity-related diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, measure your waist circumference along with BMI.

Is it possible to be overweight and healthy?

It might sound a little odd, but you can be. According to a report published by the National Institutes of Health in 1998, people who are overweight can be considered healthy, if their waist size is less than 35 inches for women, or 40 inches for men, in case they do not suffer from conditions like high blood pressure, high sugar levels, and high cholesterol.

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Being overweight doesn’t always mean your fitness levels are low. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Renowned nutritionist and author Kavita Devgan shares her views with HealthShots, on this. She says, “Yes, you can be overweight and still be fit because a lot of people have higher muscle mass, as compared to their fat percentage. That’s why they weigh more, but are perfectly fit. On the other hand, a lot of thin people might have low muscle mass and high visceral fat, which is extremely unhealthy and can increase the risk of heart disease.”

Focus on fitness

At the end of the day, your fitness levels are far more important than how much you weigh, unless you are obese. Try to move your body, and stay as active as you can, not just to burn calories but to prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, osteoporosis, and many more conditions.

Exercising regularly can also help to enhance your mood, improve your self-esteem, reduce anxiety levels, and tackle stress.

All you need to keep in mind is that healthy eating and regular exercise are important for your health. And even if you lose a little weight, and don’t see drastic BMI changes, worry not! Even as little as 5-10% loss of body weight is linked to improved cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure levels, as per a study by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.


Keep an idea of your risk of weight-related issues.

Check BMI
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About the Author

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town. ...Read More

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