Obesity is a national threat to the nation's health, the country's chief medical officer has warned
Scientists say they have bust the myth that you can be “fat but fit” with research showing obese regular exercisers are likely to die before slim unfit people.
The study of 1.3 million men found that obese people with high levels of aerobic fitness were 30 per cent more likely to die prematurely, compared with those were slim, despite taking little exercise.
The Swedish research tracked men for 30 years, before coming to the conclusion that being the right weight is the most important factor for long-term health.
Scientists said the findings, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, demolished the myth that being fit was sufficient to protect health, and could compensate for obesity.
A number of studies have suggested that obese people who were regular exercisers were at no greater risk of a potentially fatal illness than normal weight people.
The new research, the largest study of its kind, was based on 18 year old Swedish military conscripts whose aerobic fitness was tested by asking them to cycle until they had to stop due to fatigue.