In a city increasingly, and rightly, focused on the obesity issue, I’m going to say something that may sound heretical – being fat and fit is better than being thin and unfit.
OK, so some of you are thinking “Dr. Z, that’s crazy talk!” But it’s true. Someone who is overweight but who gets out and exercises is more likely to be healthy than someone who watches their diet to stay in size 4 jeans, but who does little to no exercise.
I’m not just making this up. Last year, the National Cancer Institute released a study finding that people who were somewhat obese (NOT morbidly obese) lived more than 3 years longer than men and women who are at a more normal weight.
A study in the European Heart Journal found that having good health indicators — such as healthy cholesterol levels, blood sugar, blood pressure, etc. – means being overweight does not put someone at any more risk of developing heart disease or getting cancer.
Earlier this year, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study by a lead researcher at the Centers for Disease Control. Her research team looked at data involving 3 million adults dividing groups into categories based on their Body Mass Index (BMI). The categories were normal weight (BMI 18.5 – 25), overweight (BMI 25 – 30), Grade 1 obesity (BMI 30-35) and Grades 2&3 obesity (BMI 35 and greater).
The major findings? People classified as Grade 1 obese and overweight had a 5% and 6% lower risk of death, respectively, versus people classified as normal weight.
But there is a fine line between healthy and unhealthy weight. People classified in Grades 2&3 obesity had a 29% increased risk of death.
Let’s be clear: Being overweight and just saying “it’s healthier than being skinny” without making an effort to be active and keep your weight under control is NOT OK. It is important for everyone, regardless of their size, to make an effort to get out and move. Nutrition and diet are important, but equally so is activity level and conditioning.
As a member of the Mayor’s Fitness Council, I’m proud of the YMCA of Greater San Antonio, the City of San Antonio and a host of sponsors including presenting sponsor HEB for putting a focus on getting active. That’s why I’m looking forward to the slate of events scheduled for Síclovía on Sunday, Sept. 29.
The bi-annual Síclovía “Play in the Street” keeps on growing. Some 40,000 people took part in the event last year this time and 65,000 turned out in April this year. We’re hoping for break the 75,000 mark on Sunday.
The city will close off Broadway street from East Mulberry all the way to the Alamo for fun events including a 5K run, Zumba, line dancing, belly dancing, skating and cycling. There will be a pet zone, family zone, skate and BMX park, food booths and much more. All of it will happen in a safe, car-free zone for six hours from 10 am to 3 pm.
Visit http://www.ymcasatx.org/siclovia to learn more.
It’s all about moving the needle toward a more fit San Antonio. So no matter what shape you are in and what you like to do for fun, you are sure to find something that you enjoy at Síclovía. And if you missed it, be sure to visit the website to learn details of the next Síclovía in the Spring.
Dr. Annette “Dr. Z” Zaharoff, a former professional tennis player on the WTA Circuit, heads the Non-Surgical Center of Texas, focusing on non-surgical alternatives to relieve pain and repair injuries. Learn more about her at www.drzmd.com.