In case anyone was under the illusion that our society's current obsession with the 'obesity epidemic' is primarily about people's health rather than body image1, the overall lack of coverage of this study by the media2 should contribute towards dispelling that illusion:
The association between waist circumference and mortality persisted after further adjustment for smoking, baseline health status, and BMI (P = .02) but not after additional adjustment for fitness (P = .86). Fitness predicted mortality risk after further adjustment for smoking, baseline health, and either BMI, waist circumference, or percent body fat (P < .001 for trend). . . . In this study population, fitness was a significant mortality predictor in older adults, independent of overall or abdominal adiposity.
'Adiposity' was assessed by body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and percent body fat.

In other words, this study suggests that being fit might increase your health even if you're 'overweight'. But of course, because we're ultimately less concerned about people's health and more concerned about whether people fit current standards of 'beauty', we wouldn't want to talk about any research which prioritises the former over the latter, would we? :-P

1. i find it outrageous that it's acceptable to comment on a person's size / weight "for health reasons, and the resulting costs to society" in a way that it's not acceptable to comment on, say, a person's consumption of alcohol, even though alcohol consumption has huge social and financial impacts on our society.

2. One exception being the NY Post's article "Fit fatties healthier than thin couch potatoes".



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