Previous studies had suggested that being physically fit could mitigate the negative effects of being overweight on heart health, but this is not the case, according to a new study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), published Thursday.
"One cannot be 'fat but healthy.' This was the first nationwide analysis to show that being regularly active is not likely to eliminate the detrimental health effects of excess body fat," said study author Alejandro Lucia, a professor of exercise physiology at the European University of Madrid.
"Our findings refute the notion that a physically active lifestyle can completely negate the deleterious effects of overweight and obesity."
Previous research provided some evidence that people who were "fat but fit" could have similar cardiovascular health to those who were "thin but unfit," but Lucia said this has had unintended consequences.