Why it’s the Latest Buzzword in the World of Weight-Loss…and, Overfat vs Overweight.
By John Falkinder
How do YOU know if you fall into the ‘Overfat’ category?
If you are keeping your eye on the world of weight loss, dieting, nutrition, and fitness, you will almost certainly have come across the latest buzzword: “overfat”.
Overfat……what’s that mean to us?
This new term, which I only came across recently, is now everywhere it seems. It is confusing for many, but appears to be the new danger out there in the ‘lifestyle health’ and weight loss world.
It seems we no longer have to worry about obesity; it is now all about being overfat.
It looks like doctors are now saying, ‘overfat’ is the new ‘overweight’.
6 Things You Need to Know About Being Overfat
1. What Is Overfat?
I am sure we all know what it means to be overweight and to be obese. The focus of those two terms is all about how much someone weighs.
Overfat is different.
It focuses on how much fat a person carries. According to this recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald, “Overfat refers to having sufficient excess body fat to impair health”.
Doctors and medical researchers are now classifying people as underfat, normal body fat percentage, and overfat.
And perhaps most concerning of all is the idea that around 76% of the population across the planet is overfat. Researchers also suggest that between 9% and 10% are underfat. This would mean that only a very small minority of people are actually in the healthy fat range.
Confusing as it is all becoming, essentially it means 76% of people have so much body fat that their health may be impaired because of it.
2. Overfat and Underfat: Why We Need New Terminology and Definitions
It seems to me as if not a day goes by without a new term being invented to talk about weight gain, weight loss and a general state of “fatness”.
Here’s one good thing I am pleased about as it has bugged me for years.
The concept of being overfat is a good one because the old idea of the BMI is falling way short of improving people’s health.
Take, for instance, a professional athlete who is incredibly healthy.
The BMI of this athlete, due to muscle weight, could put him or her in the overweight or even obese category, when this would not be appropriate since this person is not actually having any health risks or problems as a result of being overweight.
An added difficulty is that, if the BMI is accepted as the normal measure of health, people who carry a lot of fat could still be within the healthy BMI range, so much so, that a lot of potential health problems could be missed.
One of the reasons being is that a BMI test doesn’t differentiate between body fat and lean body mass (muscle). For example the test will usually give a fit bodybuilder an obese reading even though he/she has less than 10% body fat.
To further understand the shortcomings of the BMI test read this article by Dr Mercola: BMI is Not a Reliable Method for Diagnosing Overweight or Obesity.
With the exception of conditions such as osteoarthritis, morbidity conditions are linked to having an excess of fat on the body, not physical weight. As such, a rethink of measurements was long overdue so I think it is a step in the right direction to help clear up some of the confusion.
In fact, some scientists now believe that being overfat is a global pandemic, and one that has apparently managed to sneak in through a backdoor.
Accepting this means that there needs to be a rethink of how health organizations across the world approach various chronic and metabolic illnesses as well.
Words are powerful, and it is hoped that, by using the right terminology, people will also become more aware of the real risks of being overfat. And these include not just individuals, but also public health officials and health care professionals.
3. Creating a New Definition
Because it is clear that there needs to be recognition of the flaws of the BMI concept, and how this can be addressed through the terminology of “overfat”, a new definition had to be created, as well as a new type of measurement.
It has now been agreed upon that if a man has a body fat measure of 25% or more, and a woman has a body fat measurement of 32% or more, they are classed as “overfat”.
They may also be classed as obese, although this is not always the case. Being obese with a healthy fat range is possible, just as being overfat but having a healthy weight is possible.
This is a key point to remember and it came up in a 4KQ article I read which said; “Just because you’re not overweight or obese doesn’t mean you don’t have a problem. It’s now being proposed there’s a whole other group of people who are ‘overfat’ that need to be considered!”
So in other words, you may still be very unhealthy.
With this new line of thinking, the reality is that, with just 14% of people being in the healthy fat range, and 76% of people being overfat, it is now very likely you are overfat. Sorry to spoil your day but don’t feel too bad……you can do something about it and reverse this aging process.
I have discovered and proven on myself that the answer to Anti-Aging is Active Ageing.
I know this all sounds very confusing especially when Fitness for Weight-Loss tells us in their definition of overfat; “You can be overweight, but not overfat and you can be overfat and not overweight.”
Have I lost you yet?
Just stay with me……..I will sum it all up in a moment.
4. Is it Better to Be Overfat than Overweight?
As with every cloud there is a silver lining.
When it comes to determining health risks, researchers have found it is less damaging to be overfat than to be overweight. That said, it is very important to understand that neither is good for you.
Nevertheless, it is hoped that, with the scientific and medical community accepting the idea of being overfat, more preventative measures will be created in the near future……once they can get their heads wrapped around it all.
So there is a chance that any health consequences of being overfat might be avoided thanks to mobile outreach programs in the community.
This is one of the reasons why I am so keen to see people getting involved in an Active Ageing program as it can slow, stop and even reverse this confusing problem of overfat vs overweight…..both of which are bad for your health and longevity.
5. Is OBESITY now the poor relation to OVERFAT?
No, in my eyes, not really.
To me it looks like the researchers are trying to dampen the obsession we have with body weight.
In other words, it is a new line of attack for an old problem and it is a way to get people to think about the problem differently.
6. A Couple of Fat Facts Before I go
Be aware there are two types of fat……belly fat which is just under your skin and when correctly labelled is called subcutaneous fat. The other one, and this is the real bad boy of the two is called visceral fat and builds up around your internal organs……you can’t see it and it can affect anyone……fat or thin.
Some time ago I wrote a three part series on Belly Fat. To save repeating myself here why not go to this link and have a read……it will help explain what this debate is about, help with your longevity and maybe even save your life: What you don’t know about Belly Fat and HOW it is S-L-O-W-L-Y Killing Everyone!
For health and fitness reasons, if you would like to know your body fat percentage then I recommend you have a Dexa Body Composition Scan.
It is quick and painless, has only a 2% to 3% margin of error (as against most other methods) and it measures bone density, body fat percentage as well as where most of your body fat is located, which is really important to know.
If you have any questions or would like to know more then just ask…….I am more than happy to do the research for you if it is going to help with your long term health and fitness.
Best wishes – John – your Active Ageing Coach and Activist.