5 Reasons Why Being Thin Doesn’t Mean You’re Healthy

03/02/2012

Thin main photoMaybe it’s because we can undoubtedly be a vain society that aligns all sorts of positive associations with beauty. The thinnest people are known as beacons of health. For most of us, our health goals lean more toward vanity than feeling good from the inside and out. 

In a country where advertisements shun any extra skin and beauty is somehow linked to wealth and fame, we all want to be thin. But a number of sources have shown that being thin doesn’t necessarily translate to health. 

1. It’s Not Just the Fat, But the Kind of Fat

A new study has shown that it’s not just being fat, but the kind of fat that’s the issue.

Time.com reported on the study.

[F]at deposited just under the skin doesn’t contribute that much to the development of metabolic disorders such as diabetes or heart problems. But fat accumulated in deeper tissues and organs, within muscle and embedded in organs like the liver, for example, can put you at greater risk of these diseases. And that goes for lean people too: they might not have much visible fat under the skin, but may be sequestering so-called visceral fat inside their body.”

So it's true, there can be skinny fat people and it's all in the kind of fat when it comes to matters of health.

2. You May Miss Routine Health Tests

If you’re thin, you’re more likely to skip on important health tests that can stave off future illness. While weight does impact chronic health issues like diabetes, cholesterol, and high blood pressure, it's not the whole picture. Heredity along with diet and exercise, even with a high metabolism, can lead to these diseases later in life and if you’re not vigilant you could end up having a heart attack when you didn’t even know your blood pressure was through the roof.

3. Skipping Out on Exercise

Exercise is important for both lowering cholesterol and staving off diabetes. If you’re super thin, you may think that you don’t need to exercise but this is just false according to Oz Garcia, Ph.D., nutritionist, who wrote about one surprised patient:

A few years ago, one of my thinner clients who looked externally healthful came to me for a consultation after she had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Rightfully, she was nervous and confused and couldn't understand how she had developed this disease, she thought only "fat" people were diagnosed with these types of conditions. When asked if she exercised, she shook her head, stating that she had never really had to think about exercising or eating healthy, that she had always been lucky to have such a great metabolism. 

Thin photo

Photo: Brand X Images

4. Osteoporosis 

If you’re not doing any weight bearing exercise because you’re thin and you’re not eating a healthy whole foods diet for the same reason, you could end up with brittle bones and even osteoporosis. You want to have some muscular tone in addition to being thin in order to avoid bone density issues later on.

5. Calorie Control Vs. Your Diet

Constantly worrying about being thin leads us to count calories rather than looking at the foods we’re eating. It’s much more important to take an aerial view of your diet based on the foods that you’re eating rather than the calories you’re consuming. Portion control is of course important but if you focus on loading your plate with fruits, vegetables and then adding on a fist worth of whole grains and protein, you’re sure to find your healthy BMI range instead of obsessing about being thin. 

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Thin inline photo

Photo: Brand X Images

Photo at top: David Delossy/Thinkstock

Like this? Follow me on Twitter  and Facebook

More on Being Thin
Is Your Schedule Conducive to Being Thin? 
If Fat Runs in Your Family, Can You Avoid It? 
Mid-Morning Snackers Weigh More


Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on SereneKitchen.com. She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.


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