Fitness Level Reduces Death Risk Regardless of BMI

According to a recent research, fitness level is extremely important, as it is able to reduce the risk of death. This occurs regardless of the body weight. Even if the body weight has remained the same, but the fitness level has been increased, the chances of death have been reduced. The study which appeared in “Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association”, was conducted on men, but researchers believe that it can be applied to women as well.

Fitness level reduces death risk

14,345 men, the majority being white and from the middle or upper class, participated to the study. Researchers discovered that men who improved their fitness had a lower death risk, regardless of the Body Mass Index changes. The unit for increased fitness was measured as MET, or Metabolic Equivalent of Task. Researchers stated that each MET was associated with a 19 percent reduced risk of developing heart diseases, or strokes. It was also associated with a 15 percent reduced risk of dying from any cause.

Of course, the study revealed the fact that men who had a lower fit level had higher chances of dying. The researchers also discovered that the BMI change did not influence the death risks whatsoever. The Body Mass Index calculates the weight and height ratio (kg/m2). The MET measures the intensity of the aerobic exercises, or more precisely the metabolic rate in the course of a physical activity. This ratio is compared to a resting metabolic rate. People who are exercising on a regular basis will have a great metabolic rate. There are people who have an excellent metabolic rate, but cannot lose weight. Duck-chul Lee, the leader of the study, and physical activity epidemiologist in the Department of Exercise Science at the University of South Carolina, stated that people should not worry too much about their weight, as long as they have a good fitness level.

Researchers stated that physical inactivity can be a killer, because it increases the odds of dying from heart attack, strokes, and so on. They also stated that they could not find any connections whatsoever between fat percentage and death risk. The participants were part of the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study, and during the course of the study they underwent at least two medical exams.

Some factors to consider

The researchers used treadmill tests in order to determine the physical fitness. They also calculated the BMI. The study spread over the course of six years, and the researchers compared the changes in MET and BMI over these years. Researchers stated that there are certain factors which could influence death risk: age, family history of heart disease, BMI change, diabetes. The study was conducted on normal weighted or overweight people, so it is unknown if the same principles apply to the obese people.

Also, the majority of the men were white and from middle or upper class, and as a result, it is unknown if the results might apply to people of different genders or classes.

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