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Fitness first

Research that does tease apart weight and fitness -- like a series of studies conducted by Steven Blair at the Cooper Institute in Dallas -- shows that being fat and fit is better, healthwise, than being thin and unfit. Regular aerobic exercise may not lead to weight loss, but it does reduce fat in the liver, where it may do the most metabolic damage, according to a recent study at the University of Sydney.

"More often than not, cardiovascular fitness is a far more important predictor of mortality risk than just knowing what you weigh," said Glenn Gaesser, author of "Big Fat Lies" and director of the Healthy Lifestyles Research Center at Arizona State University.

-- Harriet Brown, author, "Brave Girl Eating: A Family's Struggle with Anorexia."


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