Normal weight obesity is when someone with normal body weight has a high percentage of body fat. For males that’s more than 24 percent of body weight and for females it’s more than 31 percent.
‘Skinny fat’ people are subject to the same health risks and diseases as people who are overweight.
A Mayo Clinic study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2012 revealed that nearly 25 percent of people with normal weight obesity have pre-diabetes and are metabolically obese. Dr. Francisco Lopez Jimenez, who led the study said: "Women with normal weight obesity, meaning those who have high fat and a normal weight, have a two times increased risk for or dying from heart problems or a stroke."
Another study showed that for those with low muscle mass and strength, losing weight alone may not be enough to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, especially if they are over the age of 60. Among other things, muscle loss is associated with insulin resistance which leads to diabetes.
So do people who are skinny or of normal weight need to diet or exercise? Yes. A normal BMI is within the range of 18.5 to 24.9 for Caucasians or 17 to 22.9 if you are of Asian ethnicity. If you are in the middle to upper end of that scale you may well need to lose fat and add muscle.
Lifting weights two to three times per week improves strength, stamina and muscle fat ratio. The more muscle you have the faster your metabolism and the better the regulation of your insulin. So Hi Ho girls and boys, it’s off to the gym we go…