ABC 22 News Team
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SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: 'Skinny-Fat', How Dangerous It Is to Your Health
KETTERING -- Thin is in, but being thin doesn't mean you're healthy.
More and more doctors are finding women who might look good on the outside, but aren't well on the inside.
It's burned into our brains that thin is healthy.
"You're supposed to be a certain size from top to middle to bottom," said Jessica Howitt.
"I would automatically think that skinny equals healthy," said Erika Stevens
But what you see isn't always what you get.
"We're seeing people present with the same type of issues like diabetes, and hypertension and high cholesterol numbers that you would typically see in someone who was overweight but we're seeing it in these normal weight individuals," said Barb Emrick, Nurse Coordinator at Kettering Medical Center.
She says medically it's a condition called "metabolically obese normal weight," and more people have it than you think.
"It is pretty common, they say that one in four of people that are skinny fat, or that are diagnosed with diabetes are the skinny fat type of profile," said Emrick.
So we had two women come in and get tested to see just how healthy they are.
Both are thin and seem to be in good health.
"It measures the bio-impedence in your cells," said the nurse to the patient.
They tested their height, weight, blood pressure.
"You're gonna feel it squeeze your arm," said the nurse.
And took a sample of their blood.
"Okay Marci, just a little stick," said the nurse.
A week later, and the results are in.
"Out of your cholesterol profile there was one number that was a little bit on the low side, not hugely but a little bit," said the nurse.
Marci Whisner's good cholesterol number isn't where she was hoping it would be.
"The older I get, the more of a concern it will be and my family is all on medication for it, and so it's something that I want to change now so I don't have to worry about it later," said Whisner.
But overall, Whisner is a healthy 22-year-old woman.
Jessica Howitt also got her results.
"We also checked Vitamin D, which is linked to some high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, and yours is low," said the nurse to Howitt.
While her Vitamin-D intake is lower than normal, overall Howitt is a healthy 26-year-old woman.
"Your total cholesterol is 129, which is excellent," said the nurse.
"Every now and then you do eat that fast food, or that fried food, or those french fries and you don't ever know how immediate the results are of eating fried foods," said Howitt.
It paid off for Howitt and Whisner, but medical professionals still need to be skeptical even when their patients look healthy.
"If they're underactive they may not have much muscle they may be carrying a lot of body fat regardless of what their body mass index is," said Emrick.
To fight it off, eat healthy fruits and vegetables and exercise for at least 150 minutes a week.
If you do that, you're hard work will be rewarded just like it was for Howitt and Whisner.
"Eating healthy, and being active and watching what I eat and watching the fat intake that I have really does pay off in the long run," said Howitt.
Those at Kettering Medical Center tell me it's the type of fat, called visceral fat, that tends to stay around your waistline that causes the problem.
That fat gathers around your organs, and causes them to process foods differently.
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