Is it okay to be fat if you're fit?

Research suggests that physical activity may cancel out some of the bad effects of being overweight or obese.

Humanity is getting pudgy, and worse. High-calorie diets and low-activity lifestyles have created a massive "globesity" problem. About 300 million people around the world are now obese (a body mass index [BMI] of 30 or more).

One person who saw it coming was Ancel Keys, a pioneering epidemiologist and early champion of the Mediterranean diet who died in late 2004 at age 100. A 2004 editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine opened with this 1949 quote from Keys: "While our calorie intake goes up, our output goes down. The wonderful advances of technology not merely free us from back-breaking toil; they make it almost impossible to get a decent amount of calorie-using exercise."

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