Research: Lower fitness level tied to central obesity.


Large waist tied to lower fitness level

Central Obesity
Central Obesity

Every dieter is looking for a tip to help them lose weight.  In the past, many experts have suggested eating less and exercising more.   At least on paper, the following research would appear to confirm this, or does it?  To many of us, we cannot believe they wasted their time looking at this.  Sure, obesity is tied to a lower fitness level and waist circumference.  

Waist circumference or central obesity is tied to increased risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and hard disease, so you can quickly see why it focuses on weight loss attempts.  Any increase in fat found around the abdomen increases this risk, so you should.  The interesting thing about this study is that they have shown a link between obesity and a lower fitness or exercise level.  The question really is if the lower fitness level is caused by obesity, or is the lower level of exercise the cause of obesity?  

The study was published online in January of 2017 under the title: “Low fitness is associated with abdominal adiposity and low-grade inflammation independent of BMI”​[1]​.  It investigated the association between fitness and waist circumference, and they used the data from the DANHES Study from 2007-2008.  Data from 10,976 individuals from the general population were examined.  The data consisted of waist circumference, fitness, and C-reactive protein.  The results found an inverse association between fitness and waist circumference and between fitness and inflammation or CRP.

The bottom line:  I have to doubt that obesity is tied to lower fitness levels and exercise levels, but that is not causation.  This study is a lot of hype but has little to meaning.  You cannot determine causation from it.  


  1. [1]
    A.-S. Wedell-Neergaard, L. Eriksen, M. Grønbæk, B. K. Pedersen, R. Krogh-Madsen, and J. Tolstrup, “Low fitness is associated with abdominal adiposity and low-grade inflammation independent of BMI,” P, vol. 13, no. 1, p. e0190645, Jan. 2018. [Source]
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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