To be trim doesn't necessarily mean healthy. Weight and BMI aren't perfect measures of good health and like our mother's said, "don't judge a book by its cover".
Some slender people are essentially an illusion of good health. They're a ticking time bomb for a health scare. Here's why.
Thin on the outside, fat on the inside (TOFI)
TOFI refers to the increased and excessive amount of body fat in a person that has a healthy BMI - they're essentially 'soft'. Thanks to MRI machines, we can now see how much and where fat is distributed in the body. Some slim people are still over 25 per cent fat. With too much fat around vital organs, there's a greater risk of developing insulin resistance, diabetes, some cancers and cardiovascular disease.
Inflammation is the buzzword at the moment. Poor lifestyle choices, a Western diet, stress, smoking, you name it, all lead to inflammation. The thing is, inflammation is important; it's an essential part of our immunity. However, chronic inflammation from poor diet and lifestyle choices sets us up for an early grave - no matter how beautiful or handsome you are. Inflammation is linked, and not limited to, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, some cancers, inflammatory gut disorders like Crohn's disease, Alzheimer's disease, depression and stroke.
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Chronic calorie restrictors and yo-yo dieters may be placing themselves at risk of developing osteoporosis and poor bone health down the track. When you cut calories, you tend to cut out nutrients too. Some of them being calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein, which are all vital for a strong, healthy skeleton.
Blood lipid profile
High cholesterol is common even among healthy, slender looking people. High cholesterol is a risk factor for ill health, but it's also important to get the full picture. A lipid profile breaks it down into lipid-types - known as lipoproteins. We essentially want more of the good and less of the bad - check out the Heart Foundation guidelines to learn more. Keep in mind there's debate about the best way to interpret levels.
Smokers need to put down the ciggies and pick up a bottle of water - same movement, but much better outcome. To be a regular smoker is similar to being 40kg overweight. Your risk of death from all causes suddenly skyrockets - it's like playing Russian Roulette, but with worse odds.
A common belief is that the overweight and obese are lazy, but that's far from the truth. Couch potatoes come in all shapes and sizes and the more sedentary you are, the more likely you are to get fat and sick. The fact that you think you can get away with spending endless hours in front of the TV is a common misperception. You're actually setting yourself up for a variety of health problems down the road.
Bottom line, the scales and the mirror aren't accurate measures of good health. Making sensible choices now not only helps you maintain the body you want, but helps ward off disease and ill health in the long run.