Hopefully, most of you disagreed with this ridiculous statement. Of course body fat contributes to our attractiveness, but body fat is much more than that. Body fat is a clear sign of illness.
Specifically, body fat is a primary indicator of what has been called the Metabolic Syndrome. This syndrome has been also called Syndrome X and Insulin Resistant Syndrome (G. Reaven, 1988). This syndrome affects at least 65 million Americans or about one third of our population. One of its primary features involves carbohydrate intolerance. It is defined by a number of features including fasting triglyceride level, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, blood pressure, and fasting glucose. However, as alluded to above, its most outward manifestation involves waist circumference. Men with a waist circumference greater than 40 inches probably have this metabolic syndrome. Women with waist circumference greater than 35 inches probably have this dreaded syndrome.
Why would waist circumference be such a strong detemrinant of health or disease? This was probably best answered by Julius Bauer, MD (1941): “A sort of anarchy exists, the adipose tissue lives for itself and does not fit into the precisely regulated management of the whole organism.” To expand on this quote, understand that belly fat, meaning fat that is in the abdominal cavity becomes its own organ. This organ functions like many other organs, except it does not promote anything beneficial for the body. This fat, acting like an organ, creates multiple biochemical processes, many of which are deleterious to our normal functions.
Now, just because you do not have a potbelly does not mean that you are necessarily healthy. There is another concept to understand, TOFI. This stands for THIN ON THE OUTSIDE, FAT ON THE INSIDE.
This means that some people that do not have an excessive abdominal girth can still suffer from the metabolic syndrome. It is estimated that 40% of non-obese Americans have the Metabolic Syndrome and fall into this category.