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Study: Weight isn't the real issue

Big Liberty has already covered this on her blog, but I wanted to add a note about it here, too.

HAES advocates keep saying over and over again that weight isn't the real issue. If you have an issue with cardiac risk factors, then it's best to address those risk factors by tweaking your habits and, if necessary, using drugs. The same is true if you have an issue with high blood sugar. Control the blood sugar, and let your weight do whatever it's going to do in response to any changes you make. The number on the scale isn't the main issue.

Now, there's a study that strongly supports that view. It's a high quality analysis of population level data.

Anthony Jerant, Peter Franks. “Body Mass Index, Diabetes, Hypertension, and Short-Term Mortality: A Population-Based Observational Study, 2000–2006″ J Am Board Fam Med July-August 2012 vol. 25 no. 4 422-431

If you follow the link above, you'll find that the entire text of the study is available for free.

In analyses not adjusted for diabetes or hypertension, only severe obesity was associated with mortality (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.26; 95% confidence interval, 1.00–1.59). After adjusting for diabetes and hypertension, severe obesity was no longer associated with mortality, and milder obesity (BMI 30-<35) was associated with decreased mortality (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.81; 95% confidence interval, 0.68–0.97). There was a significant interaction between diabetes (but not hypertension) and BMI (F [4, 235] = 2.71; P = .03), such that the mortality risk of diabetes was lower among mildly and severely obese persons than among those in lower BMI categories.

Yes, not only were even the highest BMIs only weakly associated with excess mortality, fat diabetics are less likely to die than thin diabetics. This study also found that people with BMIs under 35 do not have an elevated mortality risk at all, not even when diabetes and heart disease aren't controlled for.

Interesting stuff.

Pre-diabetes: a fake disease? | Talking Fat now available

vesta44's picture
July 20th, 2012 | Link | So those of us who are

So those of us who are DEATHFATZ and don’t have any problems with blood pressure or blood sugar aren’t going to drop dead within 5 five years if we don’t lose weight like, yesterday? Gee, I think I could have told them that, even though I’m not a statistic, I’m just anecdotal evidence, seeing as how I’ve been DEATHFATZ for over 35 of my 58 years of life and haven’t dropped dead yet (and have had that normal blood sugar, blood pressure, AND cholesterol the whole time). I want to print out that study and shove it in my doctor’s face so I can tell him to STFU already about my “risk factors” because I’m so damned fat. He’s a new doctor, and another in a long line of doctors who espouse the party line of calories in/calories out and being fat is bad for you/it’s going to shorten your life (like the years it’s going to take off my life are the good ones anyway – the ones I’d be spending in a nursing home having someone change my diapers and wipe my ass? I don’t think so).

WLS - Sorry, not my preferred way of dying. *glares at doctor recommending it*

DeeLeigh's picture
July 20th, 2012 | Link | Maybe you could take a copy

Maybe you could take a copy of the study and hand it to him next time you see him.

vesta44's picture
July 20th, 2012 | Link | I just downloaded the PDF of

I just downloaded the PDF of it, so the next time I see him, I'm going to print it out, take it with me, and hand it to him with the comment that I think he needs to read it - that according to that, I'm not in any danger of dying early simply because I'm DEATHFATZ.

WLS - Sorry, not my preferred way of dying. *glares at doctor recommending it*

richie79's picture
July 20th, 2012 | Link | So based on the way these

So based on the way these stories are normally reported, does this mean I can expect to see screaming headline coverage of the end of the war on obesity and the heralding of a new HAES era on the front pages of tomorrow's newspapers? Will the numerous organisations and has-been celebrities that have jumped on the bandwagon with their anti-obesity campaigns and mission statements now quietly drop them so as not to appear suddenly behind the times? Can I now look forward to Bill Turnbull, Suzannah Reid and all the others who are normally so keen to gleefully repeat the latest doom-mongering predictions of skyrocketing obesity rates and a crippled NHS sheepishly admitting they got it wrong in their focus on weight as a proxy for health, and apologising to Britain's fatties for the climate of hostility and hatred to which they so willingly contributed?

Not bloody likely. In fact, given how far 'off-message' these findings are, I'd be surprised if a single mainstream outlet even picks this story up. Why would a considered study like this have any impact whatsoever on celebrity campaigns and 'awareness drives' that are rooted almost entirely in misinformation, propaganda and sensationalised reportage?

"What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right" - Albert Einstein

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