Fit Trumps Fat in Longevity

Fitness more important than body fat in living longer: study
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2007 4:59 AM CST
Fit - but fat. New research suggests that staying fit is more important than shedding pounds in determining longevity.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – You can live longer if you're fit, even if you're fat. That's the surprising result of a new study of older Americans that found a brisk daily walk helps seniors live longer, regardless of body fat. The report, published in the Journal of the American Medicine Association, suggests older Americans should focus more on exercise than shedding pounds.

"Fitness level is a strong predictor for risk of dying in older adults," said one of the authors of the study. "There is a great benefit to being fit, even if you are obese." The findings are crucial as America ages. Some 70 million people will be over the age of 65 by the year 2030. A third of Americans are considered obese.