Skinny and Health Do Not Go Hand-in-Hand

by Carolyn Hansen, Contributor to Exercise/Fitness on

Our society teaches us that as long as we wear a size 0 and are below, or near, the minimum weight for our height, we are healthy. This is so far from the truth that it is ridiculous. You know those people who are slender, wear small clothing, eat whatever they want, and are satisfied with the numbers on the scale? Assuming they are healthy just because of the way they look is a grand misconception. Even if they are slender they can still have too high of a fat ratio for their body type and build. A person’s health is measured by different aspects; but fat to muscle ratio is an important one.

It is not how skinny you are or how little you weigh that makes you healthy; instead, it is your bodyís overall composition that makes you more healthy than the next. A person who is a size 10 with a muscle to fat ratio of under 15 is much healthier than someone who is a size 4 with a muscle to fat ratio of 30. Your body composition is your muscle to fat ratio, and it is this number that determines your health, not the number you see on the scales.

For a woman, you typically want your muscle to fat ratio between 14 and 24; whereas a manís should be between 8 and 17 percent. If you go any higher than the high-end of these numbers you will be considered overweight and unhealthy. Remember, your muscle to fat ratio is not dependent upon weight alone; it is the amount of muscle versus the amount of body fat you have – head to toe.

It is sad, though, that we focus so much on weight. This is one of the main reasons we have such a weight problem. When we focus on weight, we lose sight of health; instead we focus on eating as little as possible to reach that “ideal” weight. Thousands of people are constantly dieting to try to reach these numbers. Dieting, however, is killing us rather than helping us. It makes you unhealthy in many ways and leaves you susceptible to many life-threatening diseases.

When people focus strictly on weight loss they also tend to focus on the wrong kinds of exercise; not that cardiovascular routines do not help to lose weight, because they do. But the problem here is that if you are not working and building muscle, it has nowhere to go but thin air. To stay healthy, to keep a healthy muscle to fat ratio you must challenge your muscles on a regular basis via a proper strength training routine. Without this, you will become old, weak, frail, and unhealthy.

If you are truly concerned for your health, you need to start focusing on your lean muscle mass; it is time to shred off that excess fat (yes, even the fat that cannot be seen) and tone up those muscles – head to toe. No more scales, no more sitting in front of the TV, no more running/walking on the treadmill for hours; get up and start lifting weights – work those natural muscles throughout your entire body. It will take time, but in time you will see a great difference in your overall physique. But, most importantly, you will see a great difference in your health. It’s time to take care of you.


Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago


Christine Stewart

True dat.

Nils Lunde
PlsNoMessage s5 years ago


Dina B.
Dina B5 years ago

Yes, true. at 5'3" and 130 lbs, people think I am fat until they see me. I have a large frame.

Deborah S.
Deborah S5 years ago

I have been having this argument with people since I was a kid (I am now 56). I have never allowed my weight -- which I admit is a bit above the norm for my height -- to keep me from doing anything! Even running 5 to 6 miles daily with 11 dogs at my heels (and ... um... under them at times... but, hey, that way I also get hurdle jumping into the routine! ;-)) I also garden, cut and haul firewood, build houses and chicken coops, mend fences, play goatherd, and whatever else needs done on my 75 acre homestead. I am anything but weak, frail and unhealthy!

Heidi R.
Past Member 5 years ago

Very valuable to think about. Thank you.

Valentina R.
Valentina R5 years ago

Becoming skinny because you do not eat anything is the opposite of healthy, yes.
However, there are people who are extremely thin even though they eat normally.
Generalizing is never good.

Carole R.
Carole R6 years ago

Good information.

Sarah M.
Sarah M6 years ago

so true!

Lika S.
Lika P6 years ago

Well, that's the thing, is that depending on your bone frame too, you can't go by one set chart. A small frame is going to be "thinner" than a large frame person.

I think at age 12, I was already considered to be a size 6 US, and I was a size 8 graduating high school.