Kettlebell Trainer Lorna Kleidman Responds to the “Obesity Paradox” and Fitness as a Mortality Factor

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Lorna Kleidman comments on an article published for The New York Times concerning “the obesity paradox,” suggesting that weight is not as big of a mortality risk predictor as fitness is.

On October 3rd, kettlebell exercises expert Lorna Kleidman reacts to an article published for The New York Times revealing the latest medical phenomenon, which suggests that fitness is far more important than weight, termed “the obesity paradox.”

According to the New York Times article, numerous studies have shown that overweight patients have lower mortality risks than normal or underweight patients. The article states that researchers have come up with several varying explanations for the phenomenon. According to the report Dr. Gregg Fonarow, one of the directors of the preventive cardiology program at the University of California, Los Angeles explains that, “One idea is that once a chronic disease develops, the body becomes catabolic, meaning it needs higher energy and caloric reserves than usual. If patients do not have those reserves, they may become malnourished even though their weight is normal.” The article states that researchers also question genetics, explaining that normal and underweight individuals have “gene variants” causing them to be more prone to illnesses like cardiovascular disease. In addition, “It may be that doctors do not treat thin patients as aggressively as they do heavier patients.”

The New York Times reports that “the obesity paradox” is causing researchers to reconsider how important fitness is for everyone. According to the article, a person’s weight does not correlate with mortality risk the way cardiovascular fitness does. Lorna Kleidman, a fitness trainer who uses kettlebells in her class KettleX, comments, “With hope, this ‘obesity paradox’ will encourage everyone, regardless of weight, to eat nutritiously and stick to a fitness routine. According to these studies, health is not necessarily about weight but more about staying fit, and being fit does not necessarily mean being skinny.”

According to Glenn Gaesser, the director of the Healthy Lifestyles Research Center at Arizona State University, “More often than not, cardiovascular fitness is a far more important predictor of mortality risk than just knowing what you weigh.” The article concludes by recommending people opt to maintain their fitness more so than their waistline.

Lorna Kleidman is a Three-Time World Champion and World Record holder in kettlebell sport and the most decorated kettlebell athlete in the country. She came up with the innovative exercises used in KettleX as a way to bring the benefits of the bells to everyone in simple to use, comprehensive and fun format. Lorna has been teaching individuals and group classes for the past six years.


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