The fit V fat debate continues with a new US study revealing that lack of fitness is more likely to contribute to premature death than being overweight.
Researchers from the National Institute of Health in the US followed 14,358 middle-aged men (average age 44) over 11 years and found those who increased or maintained their fitness were at a lower risk of premature death and cardiovascular disease.
Those who lost fitness during the study period however increased their risk of premature death, regardless of BMI, the study found.
They found no association between changes in body mass index and death or cardiovascular disease.
However, it's not clear whether these findings also apply to women and obese individuals.
The study, which was funded by Coca Cola, was published in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association.
The study's author said the soft drink manufacturer had no influence on the study's design or findings.