BEING SKINNY FAT CAN BE DANGEROUS
The term “skinny fat” has been around for a while, but it seems to have exploded into our culture more recently with the increase of trendy calorie restrictive diets and the loads of misinformation spewed by scantily clad bikini “models,” shirtless buff gym rats, and celebrities claiming to be fitness experts. It is not body shaming nor is it a term to be thrown around lightly. This is the classic case of don’t judge a book by its cover. An outwardly skinny and supposedly healthy physique does not equal healthy. As I will discuss below it can actually be quite dangerous, more dangerous than being overweight.
WHAT IS SKINNY FAT?
If you’re a little unclear on what exactly skinny fat means, it is a very real medical condition called sarcopenic obesity. It occurs when the presence of low muscle mass and either low muscular strength or low physical performance is accompanied by a fat mass above 28%. These individuals have what may be considered a normal/healthy weight, but metabolically, this person shares many health characteristics as someone who is overweight or obese – such as having high cholesterol, or hypertension. On the outside they look skinny, but internally, their body composition is unbalanced and even considered obese. Skinny fat people are not healthy.
Many people just assume that if they look good and their clothes sizes are readily available in shops they have nothing to worry about. This is where the danger lies, skinny fat people are typically unaware they’re unhealthy and at risk of the same diseases of overweight and obese people. Most overweight and obese people are aware of the dangers of their condition and may choose to do something about it whereas this is not the case with skinny fat people.
THE HEALTH RISKS OF BEING SKINNY FAT
Aside from the aforementioned high cholesterol and hypertension, a 2014 report on metabolically obese normal weight people found that they have a significantly higher risk of metabolic problems and death from cardiovascular disease than any other group.
Lab results can show vitamin deficiencies too, which can lead to fatigue or low concentration levels. A possible way to tell if you may be skinny fat is if you have a little extra belly fat or show cellulite while maintaining a skinny figure with very little to no exercise and a limited caloric intake.