Advanced search

To think obesity and elevated visceral fat don’t always go together.

(55 Posts)
Topttumps Mon 08-Apr-19 22:06:23

So I often notice posts on threads discussing obesity that state that an obese person is going to be a drain on the NHS as your internal organs will be surrounded by visceral fat and you will get diabetes or some other illness because of this.
So today I had a body composition analysis done. I already knew from my over 40s health check that I was in good shape despite my Obesity. My BMI is just shy of 33 but working on it. However of course I did wonder about body composition.
Well the results were surprising. My visceral fat levels were at the top end of normally so still healthy.
I did a bit of googling and this is apparently this is the case in about a third of obese people.
So AIBU to think that obesity alone does not make you unhealthy.
Certainly I exercise more and eat better than my less rounded dh.

greenelephantscarf Mon 08-Apr-19 22:13:12

just carrying the extra weight will cause a strain on your heart and joints.
visceral fat isn't the only measure of health (but an important one) and should not be seen in isolation,

stopgap Mon 08-Apr-19 22:16:54

I have some visceral fat, and I’m only 17-18 percent body fat. I store what little fat I have in my abdominal area, and I’m also prediabetic.

SparklyLeprechaun Mon 08-Apr-19 22:19:32

YABU. Visceral fat and diabetes are not the only health issues. I was in very good shape when I was a smoker, I dread to think what I would be like now if I didn't quit.

Topttumps Mon 08-Apr-19 22:34:21

I did read some research which suggested that in this subset many of the risks of obesity are eradicated if other health markers such as visceral fat are ok.
However life expectancy is still reduced. The writers of the report concluded that at least some of this could due to obese patients visiting their Doctor less and critically doctors not taking obese patients seriously. I have had this. Any symptom can apparently be attributed to your weigh. The classic one being my hernia. Despite having every risk factor from multiple pregnancy, coughing , surgery and carrying heavy items my hernia was clearly caused by my weight alone. I was sent away to lose weight but not offered any support.
Obviously other risk factors like wear and tear on the joints is of course still a factor in all obese patients.

YeOldeTrout Mon 08-Apr-19 22:40:16

Where did you get your body composition analysis done, OP? How much did that cost?

Even you are saying that 2/3 of fat folk still have too much abdominal fat. The odds are against it being ok on the internal organs.

Justanotherlurker Mon 08-Apr-19 22:42:43

So AIBU to think that obesity alone does not make you unhealthy.

No, but this insistence of muddying the waters under the guise of fat shaming is done in bad faith.

There is many years of evidence to highlight why being overweight causes health risks and why people have asked governments to step in with initiatives of healthy eating etc.

Your lived experience is nothing more than anecdotal data, my gran smoked 60 a day and still lived until 92.

BucketfannywhoreIstinksofshit Mon 08-Apr-19 22:42:56

I think the issue with visceral fat is that you can be slim and still have it. If you are fat or overweight it will be obvious that you could have visceral fat and that you are unhealthy.

I am with you on visiting the doctor. I am overweight and I won't go to the doctor. I have daily breast pain and now something like bedsores on my tummy. I'd sooner not get checked out.

Topttumps Tue 09-Apr-19 08:48:13

I got it done at my gym. It is free for members.

Home77 Tue 09-Apr-19 08:53:39

Have a look at some of the Health at any size / body respect books...will tell you similar, some people are TOFIs (thin outside fat inside) and being thin but unfit is worse than fat but's really not simple..

CoffeeMilkNoSugar Tue 09-Apr-19 08:58:44


Stop fooling yourself. Unless you wish to suffer the consequences later, that is, but that's your decision. Just don't lie to yourself or others.

HAES is poison if you look into it. Designed to sugarcoat obesity and keep people trapped in their adipose prisons.

There's a youtube video of a postmortem performed on an obese lady. It was... very eye opening, to say the least.

JaceLancs Tue 09-Apr-19 09:00:30

I echo above poster re health conditions being blamed on weight too easily
Research shows that women in general are not listened to as much as men by the medical professions - if you are an overweight female even worse
I’ve been up and down weight wise since my teens - currently on smaller side as have lost 7 stone over last 2-3 years
My other health problems have remained the same sadly - however at least when I go for checks no one blames my weight any more

DarklyDreamingDexter Tue 09-Apr-19 09:07:02

You can only know the level of visceral fat from a body scan, surely? Most gyms don't have that, do they? The body fat analyses I've had at gyms over the years just involved pinching a few areas with a sort of pincer and doing some calculations based on weight and height and whether they can 'pinch an inch' or more. Also modern digital scales have a BMI indicator which doesn't differentiate between visceral fat and any other fat. Unless you actually had a real body scan, at a Hospital or private clinic, I expect you are kidding yourself.

LetsSplashMummy Tue 09-Apr-19 09:47:55

You are cherrypicking, latching on with gusto to any tiny indicator where you are in the healthy range and ignoring the much bigger problem. You have sought out articles on the basis that they reassure you, not on the basis they are accurate. There was a book published recently called Fat Logic, and this is one of their examples. This argument keeps people fat, with all the health risks that entails.

Instead, you should feel reassured that every bit of exercise and weight loss will be decreasing your personal risk, that's the important bit, not population estimates. Good luck, it sounds like you are starting to improve your health, don't be sidetracked by false reassurances.

Home77 Tue 09-Apr-19 11:02:09

Here is some info about the TOFI- if you are interested. As you can see just having a BMI in the Ok range does not mean you don't have problems either.

Home77 Tue 09-Apr-19 11:03:58

Interesting the last line-

"some lean subjects could have as much, if not more, body fat internally than overweight or obese individuals,"

soulrunner Tue 09-Apr-19 11:20:35

For women the menopause is when it gets risky as hormonal changes mean you are more likely to lay down fat around your middle. If you’re super pear shaped but obese it’s possible you might have normal levels of visceral fat. But unless you had a dexa it’s impossible to say

Topttumps Tue 09-Apr-19 11:21:29

Not in any way in denial. I am still obese but I have made some real positive changes resulting in a 2 stone weight loss this year so far.
I record everything I eat on My Fitness Pal and create a deficit daily.
I also do lots of exercise. I walk about 200 miles per month and go to gym and swim also.
The machine use was a tanita body composition analyser. A more high tech version of the scales you can buy at home which measure fat percentages. These figures are broken down into different areas and my trunk area is in normal range along with my visceral fat.
Sadly same can’t be said for my arms and legs but I am working on it.
Another interesting result was that my bone density levels were better than average. A real surprise as two of my very slender sibling have issues with their bone density.
Obviously I accept that the technology is not as accurate as an MRI scan but it has reassured me that I am heading the right way.
I also agree that more support should be given to help people lose weight. I had not support from medical professionals.

Topttumps Tue 09-Apr-19 11:24:43

My basic body shape is hourglass. I have a small waist underneath the excess weight I am still carrying, big boobs and large legs. This hasn’t really changed despite the menopause.

Home77 Tue 09-Apr-19 11:28:00

HAES basically is "Health at any size" so rather a focus on dieting to eat healthily and exercise whatever size you are. I can't see how that is a bad thing, or poison as someone dramatically stated above. Presumably they meant the idea that it is OK not to be thin / trying to get thin as the main aim. With the HAES approach if you eat healthy that would impact on metabolic health.

It seems the main thing overall is the best is to make healthy choices and not eat too much processed sugary junk food which causes up and down sugar spikes and cravings. And as we see it is possible to be thin and not metabolically healthy.

Maybe a good place to start is one of those health checks at the GP, they do them at 40 and every five years or so from then. They measure your lipids, blood sugars and the are a sign of metabolic health. It's not all about BMI that's for sure.

StarTheGirl Tue 09-Apr-19 11:28:18

Some obese people are probably quite fit and healthy. There are the famous examples like Jonny Wilkinson and Brian O’Driscoll being technically obese based on bmi as they were so heavy when they played rugby. Obviously very fit, but I do think there is concern that even big, fit rugby players are less healthy / have shorter life expectancies because of having to carry around the extra weight.

I don’t think you’re fooling yourself hmm. You clearly stated that you are obese AND ARE WORKING ON IT. Some people like to come on these threads and bash the fatty. Fucking weird.

I’m sure you’re at least as healthy as some slim people (including me)! Weight seems to be the easy target, when it really isn’t the ONLY thing HCPs should be looking at.

It isn’t “fat bashing” to say it’s generally healthier to be slimmer though. That what people are going to accuse you of saying, no matter what you say.

I’ve been on MN too long!

Home77 Tue 09-Apr-19 11:28:59

I'm also hourglass, as well. It seems the thin body and big tummy is the most unhealthy kind

Home77 Tue 09-Apr-19 11:30:31

Yes I think to be honest (and have seen people admit it as well) some people on here either have eating disorders or recovering and part of that is feeling better than others who are not as thin...and this involves 'knocking the fatties' but grim but there we go.

downcasteyes Tue 09-Apr-19 11:32:46

Being overweight is unhealthy.

It's also possible to be unhealthy and to have a normal BMI. It's just sometimes less visible.

I think we should all support those trying to better their health, whatever their shape or size. Positivity and love, not negativity and hate.

Home77 Tue 09-Apr-19 11:34:46

This article is interesting, about the fat and the sumo wrestlers!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »