Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Eat up. Fat is good!

'Will a Pastry a Day Keep the Doctor Away?' That's the headline in the latest New Scientist, (unfortunately subscription only) which investigates a series of studies that seem to show "that being a little overweight may actually be the healthier option."

The Scotsman has a summary: 'Being 'fat' may not be a health risk':
...experts warned that anyone deciding to lose weight after being told they were too heavy because of their [Body Mass Index] could actually damage their health. Reducing the amount of food consumed lowers weight, but also lowers the amount of lean tissue, which has been linked to an increased chance of premature death.

Katherine Flegal, an epidemiologist from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who led the team behind the controversial study, said: "Although people think there's all this evidence out there showing a high mortality risk associated with being overweight, in fact the literature doesn't show it."

A previous CDC study said overweight and obesity caused 325,000 premature deaths a year in the US, but Ms Flegal's study found that while obesity was the cause of 112,000 early deaths, there were 86,000 fewer deaths a year among those who were overweight compared with those who were "normal" weight...

... Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at California University whose BMI makes him nearly obese, said: "If correct, all these worries about a huge fraction of the population being overweight just go out the window. It's not a trivial problem, but the focus should now be on the severely overweight. The current definition of overweight is not like the speed of light or pi. What was considered as the normal, desirable weight is too low.

I'm heading out to get a burger and chips. Care to join me?

6 Comments:

Blogger DenMT said...

This misses the crucial point: Who actually WANTS to be a porker? Answer = no-one.

Fatty foods are generally tasty, yes, but being a chubster carries NO real benefit. PC, I'm sure you are stoked that this 'research' vindicates a libertarian response to calls for curbing advertising for fatty, sugary, unhealthy foods during children's programming and for limiting the amount of unhealthy food sold at primary schools, but the bottom line is...

...Do you actually believe, in one word, 'yes' or 'no,' the implied conclusion that it is healthier to be overweight?

Really?

11/29/2005 11:09:00 am  
Anonymous Robert Winefield said...

Overwieght by what standard?

According to the BMI index the entire All Black Front Row are obese.

According to the ASF (average single female) index they are perfectly proportioned.

Compared to the OMP index (obese members of Parliament) every single person in the USA is malnourished.

The only standard you can use is your own internal standard for the quality of your own life. If your weight is impeading your ability to enjoy your life the way you truely want to then obviously you are either under or over weight - depending on your own goals.

Get the government out of the health-care business and two things will happen.

Firstly, people will have more money in their pocket and will be able to enjoy NZ's traditional outdoor leisure activities more. This is because they won't have to work all the hours god gave to simultaneously put food on their table and pay for Helen's election bribes.

Secondly, anyone who acts like the moron who made "super-size" me will have to pay for the consequences of their stupidity out of their OWN pocket! That means that people who do exercise will actually reap the benefits of their wisdom rather than be penalised for the stupidity of others via taxation.

11/29/2005 12:28:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

denmt

Isn't the bottom line that people haven't taken responsibility for themselves? isn't that a fault of big govt?

we all know what to eat - our mothers knew that decades ago - but now, no schools have to control what can be bought!

it's the whole " a big govt can fix everythin" concept. So I don't have to worry because they'll stop selling the bad stuff, or they'll warn me, or charge me a tax.........
whatever..... it won't be my fault!

11/29/2005 10:25:00 pm  
Blogger libertyscott said...

exactly, there is this endemic nanny-statism coming out with the obsession about people's weight.

The first obsession covered anorexia and bulimia- young girls were too concerned about being thin - that remains an issue. Now there are those who don't give a damn and are overweight. Who cares about this? Pseudo-parents who want to run other people's lives.

Robert is right, with the state out of healthcare people will pay for the consequences of their lifestyles - I find it damned offensive that there are all these people ready to judge me on what I eat or don't eat.

I know what is healthy and what is not - I eat well a lot of the time, and sometimes I gorge myself on unhealthy food - and anyone who judges me for it can find ways of contorting themselves painfully!

11/29/2005 11:29:00 pm  
Blogger DenMT said...

It seems the last two posters missed my point - the thrust of the article is that 'science has possibly proven' that our body ideals are wrong - that carrying extra weight might be better for us.

I inherently believe this to be wrong, through no other reason than personal experience. Because of my sport, I spend a very large amount of time training, eating balanced, protein-rich foods in moderation, and living a healthy lifestyle.

In lay-off periods between fights I relax more, booze it up with my friends, and eat lots more junk-type foods - still in relative moderation.

I'm not judging ANYONE - if your preferred leisure time activity is competing with yourself as to how many donuts you can cram into your mouth while watching the 'Home and Away Omnibus,' more power to you.

My point is, who would empirically believe that it is healthier to live a lifestyle that results in weight gain (surely indicative of diet and exercise) as opposed to a lifestyle where one maintains a high level of fitness, and good diet - resulting in a leaner appearance?

The argument is not what is morally RIGHT, it is what is HEALTHIER...

11/30/2005 09:43:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

Den, you said: "The argument is not what is morally RIGHT, it is what is HEALTHIER..."

Well, in the view of some, morality and health are not altogether a differnt thing. :-)

"My point is, who would empirically believe that it is healthier to live a lifestyle that results in weight gain (surely indicative of diet and exercise) as opposed to a lifestyle where one maintains a high level of fitness, and good diet - resulting in a leaner appearance?"

Who would believe it? Well, apparently those scientists who've collected the empirical evidence do. Although to be fair, they're talking about health in the sense of a decreasing chance of mortality. To whit: "Reducing the amount of food consumed lowers weight, but also lowers the amount of lean tissue, which has been linked to an increased chance of premature death."

I'm sure Jim Fixx, the late guru of jogging was healthy, but that didn't stop the poor chap from dying an early death. ;^)

11/30/2005 10:48:00 am  

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