January 3, 2013

WORRY ABOUT YOUR FITNESS, NOT YOUR FATNESS:

Our Absurd Fear of Fat (PAUL CAMPOS, 1/02/13, NY Times)

The meta-analysis, published this week in The Journal of the American Medical Association, reviewed data from nearly a hundred large epidemiological studies to determine the correlation between body mass and mortality risk. The results ought to stun anyone who assumes the definition of "normal" or "healthy" weight used by our public health authorities is actually supported by the medical literature.

The study, by Katherine M. Flegal and her associates at the C.D.C. and the National Institutes of Health, found that all adults categorized as overweight and most of those categorized as obese have a lower mortality risk than so-called normal-weight individuals. If the government were to redefine normal weight as one that doesn't increase the risk of death, then about 130 million of the 165 million American adults currently categorized as overweight and obese would be re-categorized as normal weight instead.

To put some flesh on these statistical bones, the study found a 6 percent decrease in mortality risk among people classified as overweight and a 5 percent decrease in people classified as Grade 1 obese, the lowest level (most of the obese fall in this category). This means that average-height women -- 5 feet 4 inches -- who weigh between 108 and 145 pounds have a higher mortality risk than average-height women who weigh between 146 and 203 pounds. For average-height men -- 5 feet 10 inches -- those who weigh between 129 and 174 pounds have a higher mortality risk than those who weigh between 175 and 243 pounds.
Posted by at January 3, 2013 5:28 AM
  
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