OH, WOW! Feds Now Say It's Okay (Kind Of) For You To Be FAT!
- From: Perry Neheum <perryneheum@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 08 Nov 2007 11:50:57 -0800
It had to come.
Every two to four months it seems the so-called "medical community"
comes out with a new "study" that panders either to slim freaks, or to
those whose weight tends to keep them seated.
Now, "federal researchers" say blubberous folks don't have to worry
too much anymore about getting cancer or heart disease from being what
they are. Despite previous information that said fat people were at
greater risk for those conditions!
So, mark February 1, 2008, on your calendar.
That's about the date you can look for a "later" study that states
being overweight DOES place people at more risk for cancer and heart
disease, and diabetes and kidney disease, too!
"Being Overweight Isn't All Bad, Study Says"
"Carrying Excess Pounds Does Not Increase Risk of Dying from Cancer or
Heart Disease, Researchers Say"
By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 7, 2007; A01
Being overweight boosts the risk of dying from diabetes and kidney
disease but not cancer or heart disease, and carrying some extra
pounds actually appears to protect against a host of other causes of
death, federal researchers reported yesterday.
The counterintuitive findings, based on a detailed analysis of decades
of government data about more than 39,000 Americans, supports the
conclusions of a study the same group did two years ago that suggested
the dangers of being overweight may be less dire than experts thought.
"The take-home message is that the relationship between fat and
mortality is more complicated than we tend to think," said Katherine
M. Flegal, a senior research scientist at the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention in Atlanta, who led the study. "It's not a
cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all situation, where excess weight just
increases your mortality risk for any and all causes of death."
The study, published today in the Journal of the American Medical
Association, was greeted with sharply mixed reactions. Some praised it
for providing persuasive evidence that the dangers of fat have been
"What this tells us is the hazards have been very much exaggerated,"
said Steven N. Blair, a professor of exercise science, epidemiology
and biostatistics at the University of South Carolina. "It's just not
as big a problem as people have said."
But others dismissed the findings as fundamentally flawed, saying an
overwhelming body of evidence has documented the risks of being either
overweight or obese.
"It's just rubbish," said Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology
and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. "It's just
ludicrous to say there is no increased risk of mortality from being
overweight. . . . From a health standpoint, it's definitely
undesirable to be overweight."
The proportion of flabby Americans has been rising steadily, and two-
thirds are now classified as overweight, including about one-third who
carry so many extra pounds that they qualify as obese. The trend has
triggered widespread warnings of an impending epidemic of diabetes,
heart, disease, cancer and other ailments.
Flegal and her colleagues raised the possibility two years ago that
being overweight was less risky than feared. Their analysis of data
from decades of federal surveys concluded that people who were
overweight -- but not obese -- had lower overall mortality rates than
those of normal weight. But their study came under heavy criticism.
In the new research, the team sought to confirm and expand on the
original findings, examining additional data from later surveys and
parsing individual causes of death across a range of weights. The
analysis is based on the best health statistics that federal
scientists collected between 1971 and 2004, including cause-of-death
data from 2.3 million adults from 2004.
The researchers used widely accepted federal definitions of
"overweight" and "obesity" based on body mass index. A BMI of between
25 to 30 classifies someone as overweight and above 30 as obese. For
example, a 5-foot-4-inch adult is considered overweight at 146 pounds
and obese at 175.
The researchers calculated that in 2004, obesity was associated with
as many as 112,000 excess deaths from heart disease and more than
45,000 deaths from diabetes and kidney disease. Obesity was not,
however, associated with an overall excess in cancer deaths, though it
was linked to as many as 19,000 excess deaths from malignancies
commonly blamed on fat, including breast, uterine, ovarian, kidney,
colon, esophageal and pancreatic cancer.
The most surprising finding was that being overweight but not obese
was associated only with excess mortality from diabetes and kidney
disease -- not from cancer or heart disease. Moreover, the researchers
found an apparent protective effect against all other causes of death,
such as tuberculosis, emphysema, pneumonia, Alzheimer's disease and
injuries. An association between excess weight and nearly 16,000
deaths from diabetes and kidney disease was overshadowed by a
reduction of as many as 133,000 deaths from all other deaths unrelated
to cancer or heart disease. Even moderately obese people appeared less
likely to die of those causes.
Although the study did not examine why being overweight might guard
against dying from some diseases, Flegal said other research has
suggested that extra heft might supply the body with vital reserves to
draw upon to fight illness and aid recovery.
[read whole story]
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