More often than not, people believe that being skinny is a direct indicator of health and beauty. But this isn’t always true and either bodily extreme can have negative consequences. Being fat or skinny affects everybody differently, so there is more to the issue than meets the eye.
Being either fat or skinny can lead to health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, fragile bones, decreased immune systems and fertility issues. Hence why, for good health, it’s preferable to sit between the two extremes. Though many think it, being thin is not always the healthiest state.
Is it healthier to be skinny?
Being skinny can be healthier than being overweight because you’re less likely to be at risk of illnesses like heart attacks and fatty liver disease. Also, maintaining a thinner body can give you more agility, less joint pressure, and less chance of osteoarthritis as you age.
However, a lot of the time, being naturally skinny is dependent on our genetics. You can eat the exact same amount of food as a thinner person and still be overweight. How someone looks on the outside doesn’t always reflect their inner health. Everyone processes food differently and distributes weight and fat in different ways.
There are also times where being skinny can be very unhealthy for you. It’s okay to aim to be a bit thinner, but often people get carried away with their appearances. The desire to be skinny can cause serious health problems for people.
Is being skinny unhealthy?
Sometimes, being too skinny is very unhealthy. Skinny people who eat all the junk food they want and never put on any weight could be putting their health at serious risk. While many see this as a blessing, it can make people too comfortable in their unhealthy eating habits. The effects of junk food might not show in their weight, but it is still damaging their insides as much as anyone else.
Naturally thin people often don’t think to consider the effects of what they’re consuming because it doesn’t seem to change anything for them. They aren’t aware of foods causing inflammation or of the internal damage that is occurring. This is why they often consume more junk food. But this is the wrong mentality to have because these foods are still impacting your heart health and cholesterol. Being thin doesn’t change this. It puts a thin person who doesn’t look after their eating habits equally at risk of heart attacks and health issues.
Being skinny can lead to nutritional deficiencies that stem from an unbalanced and unhealthy diet. If your body lacks the nutrients it needs, it will not function correctly. For instance, lack of iron may cause you to develop anaemia which will make you feel chronically tired and weak.
Equally, underweight women often experience a loss of periods or ‘amenorrhea’. This occurs due to starvation of the body as the body has to prioritise which functions are the most vital to surviving. Therefore, periods stop because they’re not required to keep you alive. While this might sound good at first, it is very damaging to your reproductive system and can be painful.
Is it healthier to be fat?
It is healthy to have a percentage of body fat between 10 and 31, but more than 32% is typically classified as overweight. Body fat helps to protect your organs, keeping them stable inside your body. It is also the primary storage for energy and can help with temperature regulation.
There are plenty of health benefits from body fat, but that is within the certain percentage that we mentioned. There have been various studies that show conflicting results as to whether being skinny or fat is healthier. One study even found 6% of overweight people at a lower risk of passing before a person of normal weight.
Another argument as to why it’s healthier to be fat depends on age. As we mentioned, being on the thinner side is good in old age, but keeping some weight up is also important. It will prevent you from becoming too frail and weak. Losing or gaining weight as you grow up can change depending on the person too.
Being extremely overweight as an adult causes issues like limited mobility and bone problems in old age. Unintended weight loss can be equally as bad. For instance, too little calcium could lead to decreased bone density and muscle loss. This can increase the likelihood of falls, fractures, and disabilities.
It’s important to keep a good balance of fat across your lifespan to live the healthiest and longest life possible.
Can You Be Fat Fit?
You can be overweight and fit at the same time, also known as ‘fat fit’. Generally, heavier people are much stronger than people who are skinny, and muscle often weighs more than fat.
Someone who runs, weight trains 3 times a week and eats a nutritious diet will be much heavier. This is compared to a skinny person who doesn’t exercise at all and eats only junk food. Being heavier can be classified as being ‘fat’, even though the percentage of fat on their body is less. So, they will generally be healthier and more fit despite their weight.
Being ‘fat’ doesn’t limit your abilities to dance, run, swim, climb, or row unless you are extremely obese. Being fat is seen in society as an indicator of being lazy and unfit. But don’t let stereotypes get you down! You can still be extremely fit, and fatter simultaneously. As long as you keep your exercise levels up even just by walking three days a week, you can be healthier with extra weight. Plus, people of all ages and weights often can take up hiking and do it well! Your weight doesn’t have to define your fitness levels.
Does my Weight Indicate My Health?
Healthy weights are generally measured using BMI scales. These compare your height to your weight and there are plenty of online BMI calculators to help you work this out!
According to these scales, a healthy BMI ranges from 18.5-24.9. With a BMI between 25 and 29.9 you are considered overweight, and anything above 30 you are obese. But BMI is not ideal for measuring health because people with lots of muscle weight can be considered obese. This includes rugby players and boxers who are actually very healthy
BMI calculators often don’t measure how fat is distributed across the body. For instance, too much fat around your stomach can lead to major organ issues. So, try to use a calculator that includes waist measurements in the estimate.
At the end of the day, we know that being too skinny or too fat can have major impacts on our health. The key is finding the right balance between the two to maintain a healthy weight that does not put us at unnecessary risk. If you feel that you’re too fat or too skinny, you can seek professional help and talk to your doctor. This way you will understand how to properly look after your body and keep yourself feeling your best. This will include doing regular exercise and fuelling your body with the right vitamins, minerals, and calories to give you the energy you need.
If you’re looking for fun ways to stay active, have you considered playing Just Dance to lose weight? You could consider running 1km a day – we can tell you it’s worth it! There is plenty more health and lifestyle advice on our Vidar Australia blog!