Farewell, dad bod.
Shattering a growing scientific consensus and public opinion that it was OK for Leonardo DiCaprio to look like this, researchers have declared that there’s no such thing as “fit-fat.” While Leo might not have qualified as “fat-fat,” the trend soon expanded well beyond the confines of the slightly inflated waistband of dad bods.
The condition — in which a person has a BMI of 30 or more but whose metabolic markers indicate that they’re otherwise healthy — has been the subject of scientific debate in recent years. Some scientists declared that it was possible to be “obese but healthy” and that up to one in three overweight people were.
Meanwhile, in the last few years, the dad-bod craze has exploded like an imprudently opened bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. Exemplified by the softened physiques on Hollywood stars like DiCaprio, Seth Rogen and a between-stripper-movies Channing Tatum, the trend led to many a supportive, Cheeto-dusted think piece.
“Many women are looking for guys who have good careers, love kids, and offer a soft tummy to lay on after a long day of working harder than us — all things that dad bods promise,” Washington Post reporter Peter Holley protested too much. “Tight torsos and thick biceps are too busy at the gym to own businesses and keep the kitchen clean.”
Well, there’s bad news for the dad-bodied and the women they claim love them for it.
In the largest study of its kind, British researchers analyzed the health records of 3.5 million Britons over a decade and dashed the fit-fat mystique. They looked at obese people with markers of “metabolic health,” such as normal blood pressure, a good cholesterol level and no diabetes. The researchers found that those subjects had a 49 percent increased risk of coronary heart disease, a 7 percent higher risk of stroke and a 96 percent increased risk of heart failure compared to healthy people of a normal weight.
A team from the Institute of Applied Health Research at the University of Birmingham presented the study this month at the European Congress on Obesity in Portugal.
While the study analyzed the technically obese, scientists have underlined that carrying around any extra weight is not healthy. Susannah Brown, a senior scientist at World Cancer Research Fund, said the study’s findings “emphasize the urgent need to take the obesity epidemic seriously. … As well as increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease, being overweight or obese can increase your risk of 11 common cancers, including prostate and liver. If everyone were a healthy weight, around 25,000 cases of cancer could be prevented in the UK each year.”