Washington, Dec 5 (UNI) Being fit helps you live healthy and longer - even if you are fat.
Researchers from the US have have shown that even overweight and obese people can live longer if they keep themselves fit by exercising , contradicting current perceptions about obesity.
They said fat men and women aged 60 and over were more likely to live to a ripe old age than their averagely weighted or slim - and less fit - peers.
''Being fit proviodes protection against mortality in men and women aged 60 and above, whether they are normal weight, overweight or obese,'' said, lead reseracher Dr Steven Blair.
He claims all older people, including those who are obese, can benefit from increasing their activity levels.
''It may be possible to reduce all-cause death rates among older adults by promoting regular physical activity - such as brisk walking for 30 minutes or more most days,'' Dr Blair said.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, assessed the fitness of 2,600 older people and measured their Body Mass Index - an obesity indicator - and percentage body fat.
Over 12 years, 450 people died and researchers found they had lower fitness levels than the survivors, regardless of BMI.
''We observed that fit obese individuals had a lower risk of all-cause mortality than unfit, normalweight or lean individuals,'' Dr Blair concluded.