The ADA suggests that not all fat is “bad”.

Well it certainly has been a week of ups and downs.  On the one hand, we had the very disturbing news that the American Medical Association has gone against the recommendations of their own advisory committee and have declared obesity a disease.  I can’t see this as good news for anyone outside of obesity task forces and large pharma companies.  And I can’t help seeing this as anything as a black-or-white, gross, oversimplification of the issues of body diversity, and the role of fat in the body.

In the meantime, the research demonstrating the complexities of the issues surrounding fat, body diversity and obesity continues to roll out.  This very interesting article recently released by the American Diabetes Association highlights the results of some new studies conducted in both mice and humans about the role that fat plays in the body.  As always, I recommend caution when reviewing studies on mice as they don’t always directly correspond with results among humans.  However, both studies seem to suggest that fat behaves differently in the bodies of creatures that are exercising as opposed to those who are sedentary.  The study suggests that exercise changed the subcutaneous fat into higher concentrations of “brown fat” which has a different metabolic profile than “white fat”.  The study indicated that the brown fat provided better glucose tolerance and glucose sensitivities.

The research seems to indicate that exercise can “train” fat to behave in a way that is more beneficial to the body, even without weight loss.

The upshot is that these studies lend further strength to the notion that exercise helps improve health even when weight remains the same.  The article states:

These studies suggest that even if you’re not losing weight, exercise is still training your fat to be more metabolically active; even if you don’t see the results on the scale, you are still improving your overall metabolism and therefore your health.

Does that mean you are under some sort of moral obligation to exercise?  Do you owe this to the world?  Absolutely not!  Your health is your business, and there are no moral requirements that you be healthy or do healthy things.  But if our goal, as a society, is to be healthy, maybe we should stop slapping a label on a significant portion of the human population that reads “sick” or “wrong” or “diseased”.  Maybe we should focus on making healthy behavior more accessible, more comfortable and safer for every BODY.  Yes.  Let’s do that.


The Fat Chick

P.S.  I’ll be speaking on the topic of exercise for every BODY this Friday in Chicago at the Wellness Beyond Weight event at the Doubletree by Hilton O’Hare in Chicago.  Drop by if you get the chance!  You can buy the tickets here!

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