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creekland

The Obesity Paradox

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Was this talked about while I was busy at school and missing oodles of threads?

 

http://qz.com/550527/obesity-paradox-scientists-now-think-that-being-overweight-is-sometimes-good-for-your-health/

 

If so, I'd love a link to that thread.  I just saw it on a thread on College Confidential, but know Hive knowledge is pretty worthy of reading as well.

 

At the moment, having seen decent (sugar) results by dropped 30+ lbs, I'm seriously wondering if I want to do the other 20 or not to get within "normal" range.

 

"Being overweight is now believed to help protect patients with an increasingly long list of medical problems, including pneumonia, burns, stroke, cancer, hypertension, and heart disease. Researchers who have tried to show that the paradox is based on faulty data or reasoning have largely come up short."

Edited by creekland

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Did they define overweight in terms of their study? Some weight standards are underweight.

My former ped said dudeling verged on over weight. On what planet? He wore slim, pulled in adjustable waist jeans in a size too short because that's what was small enough for his waist.

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I saw that article and found it encouraging for those of us with a little extra that won't.go.away.   Frustrated that this is yet another story that shows that science is never done... but those that question scientific findings, and gov't policy based on those findings, are constantly vilified.  (good fat/bad fat,  climate change, etc.)

 

I thought the last sentence was the most telling:

 

<quote>Maybe the real paradox here lies in our assumptions about what constitutes normal weight.</q>

 

I hope this positively affects those whose insurance companies charge them higher premiums based on weight and BMI

 

 

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Well, it makes sense from an economic viewpoint. Most things have both costs and benefits. Fat may cost you something but it probably gives you reserves too and maybe more benefits than that. The problem is people don't want trade offs they want solutions or miracles. They want to have that sure thing that will give them the longest life, or the best all around education, or perfect job. Pretty much everything has a draw back though if we will admit it though. Margin also makes a difference. There is a difference between being 10 lbs overweight (if there is such a thing) and 200 lbs. over. The cost benefit analysis of the extra ten lbs. will look way different than an analysis of the 200 lbs..

Edited by frogger
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Did they define overweight in terms of their study? Some weight standards are underweight.

My former ped said dudeling verged on over weight. On what planet? He wore slim, pulled in adjustable waist jeans in a size too short because that's what was small enough for his waist.

 

They seemed to use the BMI index.  The article claims the researcher's "most recent analysis incorporated data from almost 100 studies and close to three million people."

 

I saw that article and found it encouraging for those of us with a little extra that won't.go.away.   Frustrated that this is yet another story that shows that science is never done... but those that question scientific findings, and gov't policy based on those findings, are constantly vilified.  (good fat/bad fat,  climate change, etc.)

 

I thought the last sentence was the most telling:

 

<quote>Maybe the real paradox here lies in our assumptions about what constitutes normal weight.</q>

 

I hope this positively affects those whose insurance companies charge them higher premiums based on weight and BMI

 

:iagree:  esp with the part about those questioning often being vilified.  I'm never in that "vilify" category.  I think it's great that some think outside the box and are wiling to pursue interesting trails to see where they lead.  Our world has gotten some great discoveries that way, though I'm sure there have also been plenty of dead ends too.

 

I also don't care to instantly jump on a new bandwagon just because it sounds intriguing.  This is why I like reading/hearing about the pros and cons in order to sort new things out in my own mind.  I like the aspect of staying in shape by remaining active - regardless of weight.

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"“We’re so stuck on the fact that the only way to mediate health is through weight,†says Linda Bacon, a nutrition professor at University of California, San Francisco and author of a book on the approach."

 

Well, Ms. Bacon, you would say that.

 

Seriously though, I think the BMI chart is wrong.

 

I bet they are counting some underweight people as "normal" because they need to shift the entire range up especially for women. The initial sample was likely biased.

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I saw that article and found it encouraging for those of us with a little extra that won't.go.away.   Frustrated that this is yet another story that shows that science is never done... but those that question scientific findings, and gov't policy based on those findings, are constantly vilified.  (good fat/bad fat,  climate change, etc.)

 

I thought the last sentence was the most telling:

 

<quote>Maybe the real paradox here lies in our assumptions about what constitutes normal weight.</q>

 

I hope this positively affects those whose insurance companies charge them higher premiums based on weight and BMI

 

Gee, ya think?????

 

 

I did recently read of a very small, short term study, dealing with younger obese patients with existing high BP, high cholesterol, etc.  it wasn't the weight - it was the amount of sugar they consumed.  they put them on a sugar free diet (including NO natural sweeteners OR artificial sweeteners.).  if they lost weight - which some did, they added calories because they wanted their weight maintained for the study.  by the end, all the kids were complaining about the amount of food and that they couldn't eat it all.   sugar changes the body's ability to detect satiation.  and because they were no longer eating sugar - all their numbers fell into the normal range. 

 

but I have found that in myself - if I cut out sugars (and don't replace with artificial crap), my numbers are good.

Edited by gardenmom5
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I stopped worrying about weight loss when I had my DVT.  I found out that the survival rates are much better for overweight people, which I am.  I eat healthly,, exercise, and don't worry about my weight.  I know how little I eat and don't feel a need to reduce that little amount by anything. But I am especially glad to hear it also helps with survival for pneumonia.  I have had a few bouts of that and am at risk of getting it again sometime even though I have had the pneumonia shot several times. (The last time I got pneumonia it was a type not covered by the shots).

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I've a friend who was in uruguay.  when around babies - people would always compliment them for being FAT.  fat babies had higher survival rates.

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I did recently read of a very small, short term study, dealing with younger obese patients with existing high BP, high cholesterol, etc.  it wasn't the weight - it was the amount of sugar they consumed.  they put them on a sugar free diet (including NO natural sweeteners OR artificial sweeteners.).  if they lost weight - which some did, they added calories because they wanted their weight maintained for the study.  by the end, all the kids were complaining about the amount of food and that they couldn't eat it all.   sugar changes the body's ability to detect satiation.  and because they were no longer eating sugar - all their numbers fell into the normal range. 

 

but I have found that in myself - if I cut out sugars (and don't replace with artificial crap), my numbers are good.

 

Interesting.  I wonder if anyone is doing more studies on this.

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My husband's theory is that health insurance companies don't like overweight people as they don't DIE from things. They might have some chronic conditions but they live for years and years. Skinny people that have heart attacks tend to die.

 

Just his take on things.

 

I am about 60 pounds overweight, quite active, and extremely healthy. I see the doctor for my yearly (every other year if I can) and that is about it. I haven't been on an antibiotic in 10 years or so. No regular meds, etc.

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Hmm. I do think we need to distinguish between overweight and obese when it comes to health, and even between catagories. I can certainly say that as much as I wanted to pretend that I was the picture of health when I was at my heaviest (perfect blood pressure, perfect blood sugar, perfect to low cholesterol, etc) I wasn't. An ultrasound pre-op showed I had fatty liver disease. Moreoever, now, at a BMI of 32 instead of 41 I feel so much better. My skin looks totally different, more "glowing" with health. I have more energy. I am definitely in better health, and statistics show I'll live longer at Obesity class 1 than when I was in Obesity class 3 (morbid obesity). They call it "morbid" for a reason. 

 

But, this does make me feel better about setting my initial goal at 140lbs, which for me is still in the overweight category. To get into the normal BMI I have to get down to about 130, and I'm not sure if that will happen or not. But 140, and slightly overweight, puts me in a place where statistically my weight shouldn't effectmyhealth according to my doctors, and this research seems to bear that out. 

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I'm pretty sure this phenomenon has been in the scientific journals for a few years now.  I think weight can have a protective effect, especially among the elderly, who are more prone to these maladies than the young, and who need the extra weight as "insurance" against illness-induced weight loss.  Like anything, I think there is probably a happy-medium; too fat and the maladies associated with fat overwhelm the body, and too skinny means the person has no cushion against weight loss brought on my chemotherapy or disease.  Overall, though, whatever the reason for this phenomenon, I do think there is some truth to the "fitness" hypothesis proposed in the article.

 

As a last thought, I also wonder if the dangers of "over-diagnoses" and "over-treatment" play a role here.  If the obese and overweight avoid doctors and screenings, they are not at risk for over-diagnoses and over-treatment.  I wonder if thinner people suffer from the effects of that a lot more. 

Edited by reefgazer
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Yep. My mom is 70 years old, 5 feet tall, and weighs 165. She had the flu earlier this year, and when I took her to the doctor, he just gave her some pills to stop her nausea and she was fine in two days. He said he had been seeing a bunch of people every day with that flu, and that some of them were hospitalized and that many people (not his patients) had died of it this year. I just said that I wondered why some people got so sick and others were fine, like my mom. He said that her "reserves" probably helped her a lot. She is rarely sick.

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This is completely anecdotal, but IME working in nursing homes those women who live to be over 100 are all in the 30-60 pounds overweight category.  Chunky, thick, but not round.

 

Men who live that long have all been tall & fairly lean IME (but not low weights for their heights). 

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I've been thinking more about this and I am going to change my "goal" weight to a little heavier than I had planned.

 

Everything mentioned here and in the article makes sense.

 

I have no plans to give up my day to day activity.  Sitting around for long periods of time has never been my thing.

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A side question for you sugar-free people: Did you have to cut every grain of sugar to see results? I could easily give it up most of the day because I prefer savory flavors, but I LIKE sugar in my morning and afternoon teas, so about two tablespoons in a day. I guess I 'could' adjust my taste buds, but it hardly seems worth the effort for the difference two tablespoons can make. I'm comfortable cooking from scratch, so hidden sugars aren't a real enemy.

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A side question for you sugar-free people: Did you have to cut every grain of sugar to see results? I could easily give it up most of the day because I prefer savory flavors, but I LIKE sugar in my morning and afternoon teas, so about two tablespoons in a day. I guess I 'could' adjust my taste buds, but it hardly seems worth the effort for the difference two tablespoons can make. I'm comfortable cooking from scratch, so hidden sugars aren't a real enemy.

No, that would be fine. You'd have faster results cutting it all, but it's not necessary. In my experience the white powder you put in your tea isn't nearly as big of a deal as the gummy bears in your purse.

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This is very interesting to me. I know that the BMI scale would show me to be overweight, and I am carrying too much weight around my middle, which is not healthy AT ALL. But, I don't eat a lot of junk even though I own a bakery. Tomorrow I will make some Asian fried chicken and fried rice. My splurge for the week. I will also have a piece of very expensive, very yummy chocolate bourdoux with some wine.

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This is completely anecdotal, but IME working in nursing homes those women who live to be over 100 are all in the 30-60 pounds overweight category. Chunky, thick, but not round.

 

Men who live that long have all been tall & fairly lean IME (but not low weights for their heights).

That's an interesting observation. It goes along with what I was thinking-- that if weight is protective, it is probably at these much older ages. Long before obesity and overweight become "normal" in the Western world, it was still normal for older women to gain a few pounds with older age. And that is the generation you would have seen in the nursing home. It is unlikely that those 100 year old women were very overweight when they were teens, twenties, thirties, forties.

 

I think the trouble that we see in the past couple of decades with people developing overweight at such young ages is different, and I wonder how the studies showing benefit for modest overweight took that into account.

Edited by Penelope
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No, that would be fine. You'd have faster results cutting it all, but it's not necessary. In my experience the white powder you put in your tea isn't nearly as big of a deal as the gummy bears in your purse.

Yep, the pasta side for dinner is way worse than a bit of sugar in your tea.

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Penelope, I tried to gain weight for years with no luck, then meno happened and I seem to have gone straight from "dangerously thin" to "30-60 lbs overweight" in a week.

 

After reading this thread, I think I'll buy some new clothes or learn how to sew caftans instead of adding that to my already lengthy "reasons why I'm supposed to hate myself" list. ;)

 

I'm built like my 80 year old father, who nobody thought would live to see his 60th birthday based on all the fat bashing. I forwarded the article to him because I'm much more worried about his chronic dieting than I am about the extra pounds at this point.

Edited by Guest
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My husband's theory is that health insurance companies don't like overweight people as they don't DIE from things. They might have some chronic conditions but they live for years and years. Skinny people that have heart attacks tend to die.

 

Just his take on things.

 

I am about 60 pounds overweight, quite active, and extremely healthy. I see the doctor for my yearly (every other year if I can) and that is about it. I haven't been on an antibiotic in 10 years or so. No regular meds, etc.

Interesting.  I did know that small-boned tiny women are the ones who get the brittle bones.  I guess we more-Amazon types have stronger bones because we carry more all our lives. 

 

I will never break a bone.  In fact, no one in my family's history ever has broken a bone, to my knowledge.  Tough bones!  ;) 

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No, that would be fine. You'd have faster results cutting it all, but it's not necessary. In my experience the white powder you put in your tea isn't nearly as big of a deal as the gummy bears in your purse.

 

Tee hee, made me giggle.

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I  "weighed"  this paradox in making decisions about losing weight that have put me in the normal range. 

 

I think it depends on where that extra weight is and didn't see that addressed in the article. I put mine on around my belly, which I don't think there is any debate about whether or not it's bad for you (I didn't re. As that has disappeared with a lot of hard work, I am off blood pressure medication and my cholesterol is quite good and the best it's  ever been. So in those ways losing belly fat that has put me into the normal range of weight has been very good for me. My body will always lose weight from butt and thighs before gut so there is no way for me to get rid of the belly fat without the other going, too.

 

However, I think the body needs reserve for illness. My decision has been to set a goal to increase muscle mass substantially. I figure I can't go wrong with extra muscle mass. My body can burn it if needed and the little mitochondria in muscles do great things for our bodies. The study also refers to BMI which does not take muscle mass into account. 

 

 This is also from the article: "When McAuley collects data on fitness, he finds that it predicts health and longevity much more strongly than fatness."

 

That is where I am placing my bets. I have lost weight because I have eaten healthy food and exercised a lot. And, as I said, my next goal is to significantly increase muscle mass as in the size of my thighs and rear will increase. 

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This raises an interesting point.  I wonder if the survivability stats are different for men and women?  I would guess they are.  And I would also guess that since most medical research is done on men, the "leaner is healthier" mantra came from that.  Although the fact that men tend to put fat down around their middle and women in their legs/butts may also be a factor in your observations.

This is completely anecdotal, but IME working in nursing homes those women who live to be over 100 are all in the 30-60 pounds overweight category.  Chunky, thick, but not round.

 

Men who live that long have all been tall & fairly lean IME (but not low weights for their heights). 

 

Edited by reefgazer
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Guest

&nbsp;

Interesting.&nbsp; I did know that small-boned tiny women are the ones who get the brittle bones.&nbsp; I guess we more-Amazon types have stronger bones because we carry more all our lives.&nbsp;

&nbsp;

I will never break a bone.&nbsp; In fact, no one in my family's history ever has broken a bone, to my knowledge.&nbsp; Tough bones!&nbsp; ;)&nbsp;

&nbsp;

 

This is why I was trying to gain weight in the first place:

 

http://www.herbshealing.com/Article_Eye_Opening_Menopausal_Women.htm

 

On my mother's side, I have tiny little women who look like they've never even heard of menopause and lots and lots of osteoporosis.

Edited by Guest

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For every study in medicine, there is another conflicting one. And there are scores of studies which show a direct correlation between overweight and diabetes as well as hypertension, breast cancer, pulmonary embolism, depression, and a slew of others. In addition, other studies have shown that reducing even a small amount of weight can reduce risk factors for many chronic diseases.

 

Bottom line, never let one study influence a major life goal.

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For every study in medicine, there is another conflicting one. And there are scores of studies which show a direct correlation between overweight and diabetes as well as hypertension, breast cancer, pulmonary embolism, depression, and a slew of others. In addition, other studies have shown that reducing even a small amount of weight can reduce risk factors for many chronic diseases.

 

Bottom line, never let one study influence a major life goal.

 

If you can produce one that looks at as many people/studies (or reasonably close) and contradicts the results of patient death, I'd love to see it.

 

No one is arguing that being morbidly obese is bad.  This is saying that being overweight to slightly obese has better outcomes even when people get health issues.

 

When I think of the people I know IRL, those who are very overweight and those who are thin (aka in the normal range for their age, not underweight) are those who seem to have the most health problems from colds to more serious issues.  Those with more serious issues were thin before those more serious issues were discovered.

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It's one study. It doesn't look at confounding evidence-Were those at normal weight undernourished? At a lower weight because they smoked? Had health problems? I have no doubt a few extra pounds won't kill you and might give you a reserve during illness but I'm not going to go gain weight on the evidence of one study.

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It does have a lot to do with where we keep our fat (hips vs abdomen) and they type of fat floating around in our bloodstream.  I don't pay as much attention to BMI, which is much more useful when comparing large groups of people.  The waist/hip ratio measurement is more useful for an individual.

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I'd personally categorize it as "interesting but not definitive". I look forward to more studies being done so that the picture becomes clearer. Like was pointed out in the BU article that Lisbeth linked, weight/BMI *history* is just as important as weight at the time of the study. And I don't understand - one article says the study accounted for smoking, one says it didn't. Has anyone looked at the original study?

 

Also, I'd be a whole lot more impressed if the study had been based on body fat percentage, because BMI doesn't really tell you much. BMI charts are, IMHO, flawed. So a whole study based on "what can we predict about health from BMI?" is asking the wrong question, I think.

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No, that would be fine. You'd have faster results cutting it all, but it's not necessary. In my experience the white powder you put in your tea isn't nearly as big of a deal as the gummy bears in your purse.

 

:huh: How did you know they were there?

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A comment at the end of the article was interesting. It noted that the study is based on BMI. Because people shrink as they age, height goes down. Height is squared in the BMI formula so that has a big impact. So an aging person who stays the same weight will have a higher BMI as they age.

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It's one study. It doesn't look at confounding evidence-Were those at normal weight undernourished? At a lower weight because they smoked? Had health problems? I have no doubt a few extra pounds won't kill you and might give you a reserve during illness but I'm not going to go gain weight on the evidence of one study.

 

One study?  It analyzed oodles of studies and is, itself, an ongoing study continuing to analyze results.

 

One study I wouldn't have given much thought to at all.

 

 

I need to read this later... gotta get ready for church at this point.  Thanks for posting it!

 

I'd personally categorize it as "interesting but not definitive". I look forward to more studies being done so that the picture becomes clearer.

 

Same here, but I'm seeing it as definitive enough - esp with my IRL anecdotes - to adjust my plans.  I'm certainly not planning to gain weight, but my end goal weight will be about 15 - 20 lbs higher than it was.  I've lost enough to "fix" blood sugar numbers, so I'm not disputing that losing to get into a respectable range is good.  I don't think anyone disputes that.

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One study? It analyzed oodles of studies and is, itself, an ongoing study continuing to analyze results.

 

.

Rephrasing as I'm not going to gain 20lb based on one group's analysis of many studies. I tend to think we are all individuals and if this is where my body sits there is. Reason just as there might be a reason someone else's sits higher or lower.

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Rephrasing as I'm not going to gain 20lb based on one group's analysis of many studies. I tend to think we are all individuals and if this is where my body sits there is. Reason just as there might be a reason someone else's sits higher or lower.

 

That makes sense.  I wouldn't purposely try to gain weight either I don't think, nor do I plan on putting my other 30+ lbs back on.

 

I think the bigger deal is one isn't necessarily helping themselves by doing all sorts of sacrifices to get down to "normal" weight when it appears 10 - 20lbs heavier is actually better.  I'm among those who are wondering if we have "normal" defined incorrectly.

 

That said, I also totally believe that active vs couch potato is better, so this also doesn't mean quitting exercise is a good idea for anyone.  It's not an excuse for Twinkies and the remote control.

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I saw that article and found it encouraging for those of us with a little extra that won't.go.away.   Frustrated that this is yet another story that shows that science is never done... but those that question scientific findings, and gov't policy based on those findings, are constantly vilified.  (good fat/bad fat,  climate change, etc.)

 

I thought the last sentence was the most telling:

 

<quote>Maybe the real paradox here lies in our assumptions about what constitutes normal weight.</q>

 

I hope this positively affects those whose insurance companies charge them higher premiums based on weight and BMI

This.  A million times this.  When I was underweight (115 lbs soaking wet with ribs poking out at 5'5"), I went to a gym to work on leg strength for my bad knee.  The trainer was insistent that I lose more weight since my hips were so big.  I'm a pear shape.  I have tiny little kid wrists (where they take frame size), a smaller waist, and a big ole bottom even when I'm in starvation mode.  It really hurt me to be told that.  I was trying to *gain* weight because I felt ill and frail. There is no one size fits all chart. 

 

Of course now I need to drop 30 lbs, so I'd hate to hear what they'd tell me now. I just can not lose it no matter what I do.

Edited by mommymilkies
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Same here, but I'm seeing it as definitive enough - esp with my IRL anecdotes - to adjust my plans. I'm certainly not planning to gain weight, but my end goal weight will be about 15 - 20 lbs higher than it was. I've lost enough to "fix" blood sugar numbers, so I'm not disputing that losing to get into a respectable range is good. I don't think anyone disputes that.

Oh, yes, agreed! I think that fitness and blood sugar are profoundly more important than weight/BMI. I also suspect that what is categorized as "normal" BMI is probably too strict.

 

I just wish the study had been based on something more informative than BMI. I get it, BMI is quick, easy, and cheap to measure. But it doesn't tell us much. Two people can have the same BMI and one of them could be more muscular and fit with heavier/denser bones, and the other one sedentary with a higher body fat percentage. It seems to me like what this study "wants" to say is that contrary to popular opinion a little extra fat isn't dangerous and might even be protective. I suspect there's some truth to that! But to prove it, you would have to measure body fat percentage, not BMI. Because otherwise you don't know if the benefits are coming from the extra body fat, or from having more muscle and bone mass. Right? (Correct me if I'm missing something.) I don't know, maybe even body fat percentage is not the right measurement to make. If the protective effects of higher BMI are coming from having denser bones and stronger muscles, maybe a simple body fat percentage test isn't going to make that clear. Hmmm.....

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