Harvard Heart Letter

Does fitness offset fatness?

Exercise is great at any weight, but it doesn't erase the health effects of carrying too many pounds.

Far too few of us are active and lean, the ideal combination for staving off heart disease and a variety of other chronic conditions. These days, most adults are overweight, inactive, or both. If you could be just one "" active or lean "" which would be better?

Researchers have been chasing the answer to that question for some time. Early research suggested that exercise could cancel out the health hazards that tag along with excess weight. It's a comforting idea, and one that has gotten a lot of press. But it is probably an oversimplification of a complex connection between weight, physical activity, and health.

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