The sad death of the actress Itziar Castro has brought back to the limelight a topic that, in reality, never completely went away: fatphobia. The artist spent her entire professional career doing great activism against this social problem. To do this, he used an argument that many people disliked. The fact that she, despite being obese, was fury. His death, possibly from a heart attack in a swimming pool, has made many people take to social networks with dubious morality, saying that, in reality, they would not be so healthy. But could she have been? Can a person be healthy and obese? Before talking about this topic, we must make it clear that obesity is not a choice. A person does not look in the mirror and say: “I’m going to eat as much as I can, I want to be obese.” Yes, it may happen that someone with obesity does not want or cannot lose weight, but no one goes looking for it. Itziar probably didn’t look for it either. In fact, she suffered lipedema, a disease characterized by the abnormal accumulation of subcutaneous adipose tissue. This leads to a huge increase in body weight, against which very little can be done. Therefore, the first thing that activists against fatphobia defend is that we cannot criticize a person’s weight, whatever it may be, because We don’t know what’s behind it.
That said, it is true that Itziar Castro always insisted that His analytics were good.. She said that she could be healthy and obese, so received a lot of criticism. Most people who confronted her complained that she was an advocate for obesity. But, really, that wasn’t what made her. She simply demonstrated that, in health, not everything revolves around her weight. A person with normal weight may have an analysis with many unbalanced parameters and another with obesity, like Itziar, an analysis to frame. Does that mean that these healthy obese people are free from getting sick? It’s a difficult thing to answer, but let’s see. what science says.
Healthy and obese: was Itziar Castro a mirage?
Itziar’s death revives a scientific debate that has actually existed for years: can there be a healthy person with obesity?
Generally, obesity is associated with a series of metabolic problems that increase the probability of suffering from diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular conditions and some types of cancer. These metabolic parameters are a high amount of abdominal fat, high triglycerides, low levels of HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels.
However, it is estimated that between 10% and 20% of people with obesity do not have these unbalanced parameters. Does that mean they are free from getting sick? Well, it is something that scientists are not clear about.
Some suggest that healthy and obese people are in a previous step towards pathological obesity. Others, however, consider that it is possible that none of them reach this pathological state. The causes are not clear, although there are also several hypotheses.
The case of inflammation
Some scientists suggest that healthy obese people have different levels of inflammation in their bodies than those who are obese. altered metabolic parameters. Inflammation is a necessary process of our body. It is generally triggered as a response action of the immune system, or before a bruise. Therefore, it is associated with healthy responses in our body. The problem is that high inflammation can also be very harmful to health.
We can see it as if the immune system were an army on horseback. Once it has fought against the organism, it leaves the ground trampled. This terrain is our own organism, in which the contest has taken place. And the trampled and damaged ground is inflammation.
Some foods and conditions promote inflammation, with all its consequences. It has been seen that, generally, people with obesity have high levels of inflammation. However, not everyone has the same levels of inflammation. And that seems to be something that differentiates healthy obese people from those who are not so obese.
In fact, some scientists point to the measurement of C-reactive protein levels, associated with inflammatory processes, to determine if an obese person is “healthy obese.” Something curious about these people is that it has also been seen that, in some healthy obese people, inducing weight loss can have unexpected effects such as increased parasympathetic cardiac tone, decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and altered cortisol levels. Therefore, it seems that, for them, losing weight may be counterproductive. Although, of course, this is something that needs to be studied in greater depth.
Insulin resistance is key
Insulin is responsible for helping cells absorb the glucose present in the blood, so that it does not accumulate. When a lot of glucose is ingested, without mixing with ingredients such as fiber, what is known as insulin spikes. That is, a large amount of this hormone is released, which is not enough to redistribute all that excess glucose between the cells.
As a result, cells need more and more insulin and eventually become resistant to it. No matter how much they get, they can no longer use it. This is what is known as insulin resistanceOh, it is a risk factor for many serious diseases.
A healthy and obese person, belonging to the 10-20% mentioned above, may not be insulin resistant. On the other hand, due to genetic reasons or those associated with diet, someone with normal weight can show insulin resistance. In these cases, people with normal weight would have a greater risk of developing certain diseases.
Where is the fat of a healthy and obese person?
Another key factor in healthy obese people is the way fat is distributed in their body. It has been seen that, in general, they tend to have a greater accumulation of subcutaneous fat, compared to the fat that accumulates around the organs. The latter is much more serious, since the functioning of these organs can be affected, increasing the probability of suffering from many diseases. Therefore, they could be healthier than other people who are less overweight, but their fat is concentrated mostly around their organs.
Your health is not just about your obesity
In short, yes, obese people can have many health problems. And it is logical that this factor is taken into account; for example, when they go to the doctor. However, neither in a health center nor in any other setting should they be discriminate under alleged concern for his health.
In fact, in Spain, The Food Safety and Nutrition Law Article 37 expressly prohibits direct or indirect discrimination based on overweight or obesity. “People’s intellectual abilities or possibilities cannot be undermined due to being overweight or obese.”
That, no matter what one says, is fatphobia. Thanks to Itziar Castro raising his voice against all this, many people have done the same, joining his protests. That’s what we should remember. That she was a brave woman, who also gave a little bit of her courage to whoever she wanted to take it. That’s what we should care about. The rest are speculations that are of no use, especially at such a delicate moment for their families.