Scientists of the University of Florida have published a study among adults with a healthy weight, which was aimed establishing the effect of physical activity on blood sugar levels. It was found that even though these adults were at a healthy weight (not overweight or obese), however they were not metabolically healthy. These individuals were considered to be ‘skinny fat’, meaning that the fat to lean muscle ratio was too high. As a result they are more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, which includes high blood sugar, increased blood pressure, and absnormal cholesterol levels.
This is an important finding as screening guidelines for prediabetes and diabetes usually focusses on adults whoare obese, or overweight, and therefore high blood sugar levels of people with healthy weight obesity (skinny fat) may go unnoticed. It is estimated that one-third of slender individuals have prediabetes, which puts them at risk for developing diabetes and other health problems.
For this study, the researchers of the University of Florida tested the hypothesis that a sedentary lifestyle may contribute to metabolic changes, and create a risk of developing prediabetes or diabetes even at a healthy weight.
They found that those adults with sedentary lifestyles were more likely than their more active counterparts to have a blood glucose level at or above 5.7, which is condidered prediabetes by the American Diabetes Association. Of the group with low activity levels, about a quarter of all participants and 40% of adults of 45 years and older met the criteria for prediabetes or diabetes.
Mainous, the lead researcher, says about the results: “Our findings suggest that sedentary lifestyle is overlooked when we think in terms of healthy weight. We shouldn’t focus only on calorie intake, weight or BMI at the expense of activity.”
The study adds to a growing body of evidence that sedentary lifestyles have an effect on health, and as it now appears, irrespective your weight.