Which is better for stopping you getting heart disease: increasing your fitness or controlling your weight?

Researchers in America have been looking at this question. The work was based on 3,000 subjects assessed over 27 years for fatness and fitness. As expected, this showed that having increased fatness or decreased fitness contributed to high
blood pressure, raised blood fat levels and the precursors of diabetes.

The researchers looked to see if someone could counter the harmful effects from an increase in their body fat by getting fitter. Unfortunately not. They showed that increasing your fitness level helps, but it doesn’t fully overcome the adverse effect of putting on fat.

What about the other way around? Would losing fat make up for a lower level of fitness? Again they showed it helped but did not entirely make up for it.

It looks as if there is no easy way out. To give yourself the best chance of avoiding heart disease, you need both to control your level of body fat and to maintain your level of fitness.

Although this study looked specifically at the importance of these measures for heart disease prevention, the findings should also be applicable to diabetes, blood vessel disease, high blood pressure and, quite probably, cancer prevention.

Link to the fatness vs fitness study


Professor Brian Kirby, author of How to Live to 110: Your comprehensive guide to a healthy life


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