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Getting fat under stress 'the healthy option'
Photo: DPA

Getting fat under stress 'the healthy option'

Published: 27 Feb 2013 13:06 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Feb 2013 13:06 GMT+01:00

Professor Achim Peters from Lübeck University in Schleswig-Holstein, has just published a book in German called Overweight Myths - Why Fat People Live Longer.

He told Die Welt newspaper that he and his team had observed that "people react to a stressful, uncertain circumstances in two different ways. Some eat and become fat. The others refuse food and become thin. The ones who become really ill are the thin ones. The fat ones are in comparison with the thin ones, much healthier."

Being thin was in itself not a problem, he said, but those who lose weight when under stress were in danger.

"Those who have no stress and are thin - they do the best," he told the paper on Wednesday.

"But when under stress one becomes either fat or sick. We have to worry much more about the thin stressed people than about the fat stressed people. Yet they are not regarded widely as having a problem - as they are thin. But in fact they die earliest."

He told the paper he and his team had looked at what they called toxic stress - environmental problems which a person cannot change, such as poverty, bullying and abuse.

People who put on weight when under this toxic stress have the nutrients to supply their brain. "When it does not get them from external sources, it gets them from inside, from muscles and even worse, from the organs. Thin stressed people are the least healthy people."

He also seemed to suggest that being overweight was generally a reaction to stress. "If you look carefully there were or are stressful circumstances for fat people who do not seem stressed. But these people have found a solution. They have become stress tolerant and in return, get a balanced mood. But they have to pay a price for this - eating."

There were anti-stress therapies which he said were effective in the longer term and could alter eating behaviour and lead to weight loss. But he added that there was no ideal weight - rather, he told the paper, "each person has an ideal survival strategy for their period of life, and the associated weight."

He said society's animosity to fat people puts them under psychological and real pressure. "There are studies which show that fat people earn less, are more likely to be fired and are more often bullied. The beauty ideal of being slim contributes much to the unhappiness of fat people."

"Society needs to change, not fat people," he said.

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Your comments about this article

15:57 February 27, 2013 by marimay
Whatever makes you feel better, fatty!
16:56 February 27, 2013 by Bulldawg82
Being overweight may be good for the brain during high stress, but it is equally bad for the heart under those same conditions. You just can't win . . .
19:13 February 27, 2013 by zeddriver
After considerable research. It has been determined that after having been born. You will at some point die. You MIGHT influence the length of it by just a few years +/-. So enjoy yourself in moderation.
23:59 February 27, 2013 by grazhdanin
I don't think fat people live longer.
03:38 February 28, 2013 by schneebeck
Maybe it's good for stress.

But excess blubber usually works against the knees, back, heart, endurance, appearance, self-esteem, and doctor's bills. Costs more to eat too.

Of course, if you need to shed 200 lbs, you obviously couldn't even shed 50 lbs so forget about getting rid of 200.

Hence the need for the fantasy, "blubber is good for you".
03:54 February 28, 2013 by CoolBlueIce
So if your friends are offering to set you up on a blind date and describe your potential date as someone who "handles stress very well", you might want to pass on the offer. It's akin to "she drives a really nice car" or "he's a nice guy.'
12:39 February 28, 2013 by frankgrilla
LMAO......so being fat is the new cool? oh well then i guess i will not be cool then...... checkout Americas Slaves http://topafric.com/index.php/en/site-map/413-america-s-slave-narratives.html
13:51 February 28, 2013 by ichbines
Oh yeah, let me get this right. I should increase my risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and dementia so I can survive my next period of stress. And exactly which of us suffers from so little extra fat that our body won't find something to convert to sugar? Certainly no one in the industrialized world. And which of us does not shove something or other in our mouths every half hour whether under stress or not? Please! This sounds like it is coming from the meat, dairy, bakery folks. Not even a good try...
13:38 March 1, 2013 by Jerusalem.crickets
@ Marimay - you are a sizeist douche. Yeah... not all of us are thin, but that word is effing offensive.
20:50 March 1, 2013 by schneebeck
Hurting people's feelings ought to be avoided if it can be.

But this is some new fantasy vocabulary:

"sizeist" - "You terrible evil 'sizeist', I can't help it if I am of a big 'size' ".

"not thin" - "I'm not fat, I'm just 'not thin' ".

No one has criticized people of "size" here, they have criticized people of excessive body fat.

No one is talking about people who are "not thin", which includes people of normal body mass. The article is about people who are excessively fat.

And don't start trying to deceive other people into thinking they are not fat, they are just "not thin". And don't tell other people it is not their fault, it is the "sizeists" fault.

Please do yourself, and society, a big favor. Don't confuse things by using newly created words of self delusion that don't change the reality that excessive body fat is not good for a person at all. It is also not good for society in terms of health care costs.

Now someone is going to call me a "bully" for speaking straightforward, frankly, and constructively.
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