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Obesity ills 'are a myth' -

Promoted from the forums

The Daily Express has reported on an Ohio State University study that disputes the accepted wisdom that the 'obesity epidemic' is responsible for various health conditions and that we should all "curb our obsession with dieting". It uses NHANES III data and claims that there are few health differences between 'normal weight' and 'obese' indivisduals under age 40, and thereafter only in the proportion of medication use (which could demonstrate an increased tendency on the part of physicians to pathologise and hence over-prescribe to those in this group). Says researcher Brant Jarret:

“There is a myth going on. Our findings show being overweight is no different from being what we believe is a healthy weight and this is across a person’s entire lifespan. For college-age adults, this should help them realize that they don’t have to worry so much if they have a BMI of 27 or 28. Some young people with these BMIs feel like, ‘I’m going to have all these problems, I need to try 50 different diets.’ And what is all that stress and dieting doing to your body? Probably more damage than the extra 15lb. Being obese before you are 40 has no correlation to your health either. The risk that people are told about does not exist.”

There's nothing here we don't already know, but it's good to see it on the front page of one of the same national tabloids that up until now has been instrumental in the process of 'frightening' fat people into thinking they are ill. Of course there's the obligatory disclaimer about 'gross obesity' (nice!) still damaging health, and the usual comments claiming anyone daring to even think about questioning the party line is a dangerous heretic bent on undermining the war on fat people (damn right!) as well as a couple of sensible ones, but overall it's a surprisingly balanced article. More please!

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DeeLeigh's picture
June 4th, 2010 | Link | Great background, Debra.

Great background, Debra. The availability of research funding has such a profound impact on what gets done.

If we're just as healthy as thin people from childhood to 40 and more likely to survive after age 65 (as other studies have indicated), then I guess we should just watch ourselves between 40 and 65?

Incidentally, since that study was based on the drugs people were taking, it implies that pre-middle aged fat people don't tend have a higher than average incidence of high blood pressure or diabetes, and that they aren't consuming more health care resources than others. Interesting...

AndyJo's picture
June 4th, 2010 | Link | Just remember it depends who spins it

The NYT (Rony Caryn Rabin) managed to spin it in a weird way so that it appeared that is OMG horrible, deadly after 40! The short article they wrote didn't even make much sense. Makes me wonder what DIDN't make it into the final copy.

--Andy Jo--

withoutscene's picture
June 5th, 2010 | Link | And I'd had it in my head

And I'd had it in my head that Roni Caryn Rabin was a possible ally because she wrote that Fatosphere article....but clearly, she's no Abby Ellin or Kate Dailey.

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