The NYTimes ran a story titled "In 'Obesity Paradox,' Thinner May Mean Sicker." If skimmed, the piece could easily lead readers to the wrong conclusion.
For years, obesity has been cited as a key risk factor for many chronic diseases, including diabetes, hence the term "obesity paradox."
But scientists have validated findings that overweight patients with heart failure, heart disase, stroke, kidney disease, hypertension or diabetes had a lower chance of dying than normal- or underweight patients with the same chronic disease.
To explain the paradox, the first theory mentioned in the article is that chronic disease is associated with higher caloric needs, so normal-weight patients may become malnourished. The second theory offered is that each of these chronic diseases in thin people is actually a different disease than the same-named disease in overweight people, and that normal-weight patients are genetically predisposed to greater risk.
Other theories include difference in how their disease is treated by their physicians, imprecise measurement of body mass index, and confounding variables such as exercise.
Five of the last 6 paragraphs focus on the role of fitness. A quick reading can easily mislead to a false dilemma: "...it looks like it's more important to maintain your fitness than your leanness."