The “Skinny-Fat” Phenomenon Explained

by on July 1st, 2011 at 7:00 am

Obesity refers to an excessive amount of body fat, and as we have heard over and over again, obesity-related health problems are on the rise, particularly in today’s youth. However, a new look at the condition may surprise those with preconceived notions of what obese generally “looks like”. Coined “normal weight obesity” within the medical community, often commonly referred to as “skinny-fat”, it is possible to have too much body fat despite a lean appearance.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is the standard most often used when evaluating a person’s weight, calculated from height and weight. Generally speaking, the higher a person’s BMI, the higher the risk for certain diseases (such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes).

The Mayo Clinic explains that a person may have a normal BMI with a high percentage of body fat (relative to his or her percentage of healthy lean muscle). A BMI between 18.5-24.9 is considered normal, 25.0-29.9 overweight, and anything over 30.0 is classified as obese.

The problem is often that most “normal weight obese” people do not have enough lean muscle, either due to inactivity or omission of strength training exercises in their fitness routines. Combined with a balanced diet and moderate workouts that both include cardio and resistance exercises, this condition can be overcome.

NOTE: Consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise. Health experts recommend choosing a weight/resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 repetitions. Allow your muscles to rest every other day, complementing weight training with daily aerobic activity.

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One Response to “The “Skinny-Fat” Phenomenon Explained”

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