We all know Skinny Fat people, the girl who is a size 8 and looks good in her clothes but is all soft and flabby to touch and no muscle tone. The guy who looks pretty skinny but on closer examination has a little pot belly and kind of bingo wing arms! A worrying trend that needs to be addressed is the unfortunate one of people who are Skinny Fat, they have a skinny look but carry a lot of fat. It is quite common amongst younger women in particular. With many of them using only diet and smoking as a way to stay slim. Weight loss without exercise can make you more unhealthy as you are losing muscle mass. This is leading to the ‘Skinny fat’ body type. The medical term for this is “MONW,” or metabolically obese normal weight. It means that a person is slim but has a lot of fat in their body.

‘Skinny fat’ people often do not realise how unhealthy they are. There is a difference between being thin and being healthy and it lies in body composition. What really matters when it comes to getting healthy and losing weight is being fit, in shape and taking good care of your body in the process. It is actually entirely possible for a thin person to have a high percentage of body fat, higher in some cases than people who are visually overweight. Doctors are concerned that this fat may be stored around vital organs, which can eventually lead to diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. The risk for these diseases is lowered when your body has a lower percentage of fat and a higher percentage of muscle.

Skinny Fat people are not overweight and have a ‘skinny’ look but they still have a high fat percentage and low muscular mass, which is a hidden health hazard that often isn’t seen. It has been proven that a size 12-14 woman who looks after her diet and exercises is far healthier than a size 6-8 woman who does no exercise and practically starves herself to be that size. It is not just women that suffer from the skinny fat phenomenon it is prevalent in men too.

Skinny fat people can be at a higher risk of developing diabetes. Many skinny fat people have a small potbelly, this type of fat that you store around your abdomen means increased visceral fat as this type of fat is more dangerous than subcutaneous fat which distributes evenly. Visceral fat lies deep within the abdominal cavity surrounding abdominal organs and it is a more active fat which drains directly into the liver releasing free fatty acids into the liver. This can lead to higher total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and insulin resistance. This can cause diabetes.

The good news is that visceral fat responds easier to exercise and diet than the subcutaneous fat that can be extremely and annoyingly difficult for people to shift but in people of more normal weight it is not considered to be as much of a health threat as the visceral fat.

We probably all know people who rarely if ever exercise and live on the diet drink and smoking regime to keep themselves thin, without even going into the obvious and well-documented dangers of smoking the diet drinks alone can cause a lot of damage.

People who are in this higher risk category can rectify matters by starting to introduce moderate to high intensity exercise into their lifestyle. Resistance or strength training is very important. Changing their diet is also very important. Making sure they introduce more fresh food and protein into their diet.

It is very important for people to realise that just because they are skinny or as some people say ‘naturally’ skinny it certainly does not mean that they should not exercise. Exercising is such a vital part of staying healthy and with all the health issues that we currently face that are directly correlated to lack of exercise, poor diet and weight and also the amount it is costing society there is no doubt that much more emphasis needs to be placed on introducing exercise into everyone’s routine. If you are a Skinny Fat person maybe it is time to think about introducing some exercise into your life, you are pretty much guaranteed to feel and look much better for it.

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