"You can’t tell just by looking at someone if they are fit. You can certainly be fat, even obese, and still be fit … Often the public discussion stops with fatness, but we tried to go beyond that."

That’s health professor Steven Blair, co-author of a new study published today in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) that puts the fat-fixated dogmas of the nation’s food activists to the test. What did Blair and his colleagues at the University of South Carolina find? Regardless of body weight, adults over 60 who are physically active live longer than their couch-bound counterparts. As lead researcher Dr. Xuemi Sui put it to the AFP:

"We observed that fit individuals who were obese … had a lower risk of all-cause mortality than did unfit, normal-weight, or lean individuals."

This JAMA study is just the latest entry in a long line of scientific research showing that physical inactivity, not excess food consumption, is the real culprit behind many of the health problems associated with obesity. And, as we’ve been saying for years, what’s really unhealthy isn’t weight itself, but the activist-driven public obsession with weight — which redirects energies away from programs that encourage exercise and toward ineffective legal controls on food choices.
Today’s news makes the message in our new report on how physical activity has been engineered out of modern life even more important. Everyday conveniences make it all too easy to stay stationary. So if you’re looking to get healthy, small changes to ordinary behavior that get you moving are the way to go. Constantly fretting about your waistline isn’t.