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kiramira
07-25-2009, 02:44 PM
Now HERE'S some counterintuitive info from some recent studies:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/get-fat-live-longer/article1230784/

In particular:

A new study based on Statistics Canada population data reaches an exceedingly awkward conclusion: People who are overweight live longer than people who are classified as “normal” weight. Not only that, people who are classified as significantly overweight also live longer.

The study, led by Statistics Canada's Heather Orpana, was devised to estimate the relationship between body mass index and mortality in Canadian adults. The database was nearly 12,000 people. The authors of the Canada-U.S. joint study adjusted for age, gender, smoking, physical activity and alcohol consumption. They found that the link between weight and mortality is relatively weak. The strongest finding was that underweight men are at greater risk than any other group.

But being overweight was associated with a 25-per-cent lower risk of dying. Being obese was associated with a 12-per-cent lower risk of dying. The risk for the most morbidly obese (who account for less than 3 per cent of all Canadians) was statistically the same as the risk for people of “normal” weight. The findings were published online in the research journal Obesity.

In 2005, another researcher, Katherine Flegel, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published another large study with similar findings. Prominent health experts were outraged, calling the research flawed. “There's not a lot of money in trying to debunk obesity, but a huge amount in making sure it stays a big problem,” Patrick Basham, a professor of health-care policy at Johns Hopkins University, told The Associated Press.

Researchers and public-health authorities are heavily invested in obesity. So are major drug companies, which help fund influential bodies such as the International Obesity Task Force. The Canadian Obesity Network, which gets millions in government funding, lists dozens of leading drug companies as its “industry partners.”

I can't access the original study because you have to pay for it!!!!

BUT, further info about this study and lots more can be found here:

http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2009/06/figure-flaw-paradox-does-it-really.html

Thoughts?


Kira


geoblewis
07-25-2009, 02:59 PM
Thank you very much for sharing that! It took the edge off my angst about being so fat, reduced my stress levels, and now I'm probably going to live longer off the sheer pleasure of sharing those links with very annoying people who are in my face about my weight all the time (mother).

Georgia

mandalinn82
07-25-2009, 03:13 PM
You know, it's interesting.

I've seen LOTS of studies showing that people who regularly exercise have lower mortality rates.

I've seen studies correlating good dietary habits (high fiber, lots of fresh produce, leaner meats, avoiding refined foods) to good health outcomes.

I've NEVER seen a study that showed that people who DID the above, and were still overweight, had a higher risk of dying than those who had the same healthy habits but were normal weight. But on the same token, I think that people who adhere to a regular exercise plan and eat healthy foods naturally gravitate to a lower weight than where they had been before developing those healthy habits (though maybe still not a "normal" weight).

I'd really like to see health advice in this country gravitate from "lose weight at all costs because it is unhealthy" - which leads to crash diets, super-low-cal plans, and other unnatural diets that may not provide sufficient calories to fuel activity - to "develop healthy habits, watch your portions, and let your body do what it will". I think the second would make us, as a nation, truly HEALTHIER.

Of course, it would require a systemic re-invention of our current medical system's approach toward obesity and public perceptions of overweight. But a girl can dream!


caryesings
07-25-2009, 03:18 PM
Interesting. I have personally wondered about the "healthy" arguments about normal vs. overweight. I sing with a group of women. In the 45-75 age group the last few years we've had 3 with breast cancer (all normal weight), 1 heart attack (normal wt), 1 stroke (overweight). We have an number of women with joint issues including knee replacements and shoulder surgeries, all of those women have been overweight/obese. Only 1 person has developed adult-onset diabetes, she's probably the high side of normal weight.

So in my personal observation except for the joint issues, haven't really seen a correlation. On the other hand I had observed there were almost no obese folks in the nursing home where my mother lived, so appears the obese do die at earlier age?

kiramira
07-25-2009, 03:25 PM
Ms Mandalinn, I thought this was super interesting and thought specifically of you when I read this article with my coffee, because you mentioned about studies linking BMI and mortality in your last thread about BMI issues.

I would love it if you could post some links to your studies, too, because the article and links I posted are indeed counterintuitive to what we've all been reading, hearing, and discussing.

Kira

mandalinn82
07-25-2009, 03:53 PM
I'd be interested to know if they excluded or accounted for smoking habits. Typically, in studies that show no difference at all between BMI and mortality that aren't looking at fitness level, smoking habits in the thinner cohort can skew the results - once you control for that, the differences get wider.

In terms of fitness level, though:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0887/is_7_21/ai_90216452/

http://www.citeulike.org/user/faytn/article/2960577

One of the conclusions reached here was that fit obese people had lower mortality rates than normal-weight non-fit people.http://cme.medscape.com/viewarticle/566963_print

Can't track down the original study without paying, but here's a summary on another fairly large longitudinal study:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0887/is_7_21/ai_90216452/

On whether "Normal" BMI is, in and of itself, less-risky than a slightly overweight BMI, particularly in the elderly:
http://www.nature.com/oby/journal/v15/n7/full/oby2007217a.html

Here's a summary from Scientific American, in defense of an article they wrote on the topic. It's well-researched, IMO, and hits several of the major studies in this area:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=supplement-response-can-fat-be-fit

aneleh
07-25-2009, 03:59 PM
I doubt being obese or overweight makes you live longer. Does that even make sense to you??
It is probably a matter of overall health and fitness. If you eat crap and never exercise you could still be a normal weight, or you could be overweight. The converse is true as well.

mandalinn82
07-25-2009, 04:12 PM
Although, to steal an analogy from one of your other posts, Kira, sometimes delving into the BMI vs. Fitness discussion is getting caught up looking at a tree, and not seeing the whole forest. How many of us that were overweight/obese can say that we were in super good cardiovascular shape at our highest? I KNOW that I can't say that! But the topic is of particular interest for me, because I do happen to be in that "exception case" category...someone with great cardiovascular fitness by all measures, with a healthy diet by pretty much any standard, and still overweight (and actually, unable to maintain the cardiovascular fitness level when I try to get to "normal" weight...I tried once, and I actually started losing both muscle mass and endurance).

kiramira
07-25-2009, 08:38 PM
Yah, I hear you. There are other markers than simple BMI that have to be considered.

I think the thing the article I posted DOESN'T consider is the issue of overall health. It is simply a reporting of MORTALITY. Which is a HUGE difference -- is this a reflection of our improved medical system? Perhaps those with higher BMIs benefit from more screening/tests so to speak when they do to the MDs office. Perhaps those with higher BMIs are treated and regularly followed by MDs, wherease those with "normal" BMIs are assumed to be healthy and therefore not investigated for co-morbidities.
Perhaps there are alot of obese elderly people who have had quadruple bypass operations (like my dad) who see their cardiologists every 3 months, and irregularities are found and treated sooner than their outwardly apparently healthy thinner compatriots.

Is it better to be 75, with a hip and knee replacement and type 2 diabetes and a quadruple bypass who is followed closely by a medical team, or is it better to by 75 and outwardly healthy with a simple annual checkup that may not result in the identification of disease processes?

I think this is a great study for morbidity, but it tells us NOTHING about the quality of life nor the typical disease profile of those with weight issues.


PERSONALLY, I choose healthy foods, a fitness lifestyle, a healthy waist measurement, and a BMI under 30.

Kira

mandalinn82
07-25-2009, 09:16 PM
Kira - that's my goal too! It's just the "under 25" that I take issue with, because it doesn't work with my body. But part of being healthy, IMO, is having the self-awareness to say "Hey, the medical community says I should weigh X, but I look and feel bad when I do, so I'm going to listen to MY body and go with a weight that feels right". You know?

kiramira
07-25-2009, 09:33 PM
EXACTLY...there HAS to be a balance between life, living, healthy choices, healthy habits, and body size. After reading alot of the research, especially the Canadian Medical Association clinical guidelines about HOW to determine RISK through a combination of factors, that grey area of "overweight" seems, well, MOOT.
Activity and lack thereof is WAY more significant a risk factor than a BMI of, say, 26.5.
I think the BMI is just a simple way for insurance companies to increase their profits except for BMI over 30, IMHO. There is NO PROOF that an individual with a healthy lifestyle who believes in fitness, doesn't smoke, but has a BMI of 26 is at higher risk of ANYTHING. But the NUMBER becomes a marker for making more money in premiums. Kind of makes me sick, because it NEEDS to be more than that. For BMIs under 30. I still believe that BMI over 30 is in itself a risk factor for disease processes.
And the diet and supplement industry has a vested interest in MAKING you feel fat, so you'll buy their products. Kind of sick, because you can make yourself SICK on alot of these products, so you'll be thin but SICK rather than healthy with a bit of protective cushion (which my DH quite likes, thanks...)

STICK TO YOUR GUNS, Ms Mandalinn...

:hug:

Kira

kiramira
07-26-2009, 01:04 PM
Here is an analysis of the study in question:
http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2009/06/even-obesity-paradoxes-cant-excuse.html
Kira

caryesings
07-26-2009, 01:21 PM
One more personal observation that may be a contributing factor. Of the women I know, only the ones who are overweight and/or obese or are working at maintaining a weight loss are actively watching what they eat and sweating most days of the week. So while the number on our scales may measure us in the "unhealthy" categories, a more detailed evaluation of markers such as BP, cholesterol, etc. may reveal the rest of the story.

Coffee Luver
07-27-2009, 09:28 PM
Is it better to be 75, with a hip and knee replacement and type 2 diabetes and a quadruple bypass who is followed closely by a medical team, or is it better to by 75 and outwardly healthy with a simple annual checkup that may not result in the identification of disease processes?

I think this is a great study for morbidity, but it tells us NOTHING about the quality of life nor the typical disease profile of those with weight issues.




This is exactly what I was thinking when I read those statistics. Nothing about the quality of life.

mayness
07-29-2009, 04:26 PM
I think the thing the article I posted DOESN'T consider is the issue of overall health. It is simply a reporting of MORTALITY.

...

I think this is a great study for morbidity, but it tells us NOTHING about the quality of life nor the typical disease profile of those with weight issues.


Absolutely. From the paper that article was based on:

"The threshold for morbidity may differ from the threshold for mortality, indicating the need for the use of summary measures of population health that incorporate both mortality and morbidity consequences of excess weight. This is an important public health message, because while overweight may not be a risk factor for mortality, becoming overweight is a necessary step between being of acceptable weight and becoming obese."

I especially like that last part. It's one of those "umm, DUH" sentences, but I think it's worth keeping in mind!

PS: I certainly don't condone illegally sharing copyrighted material, but if someone really wanted to read that article, or any other one, you might want to PM me... because on an *unrelated* note my university has really comprehensive journal access... just saying. ;)

QuilterInVA
08-03-2009, 02:58 PM
I have had 3 overweight friends die in the last year, all before they were 60 and due to complications from their weight. I don't really think overweight people live longer, they certainly consume their share of health care.

sunflowergirl68
09-18-2009, 02:01 AM
Just because one study draws that conclusion, doesn't mean it's true.

sunflowergirl68
09-18-2009, 02:08 AM
Interesting. I have personally wondered about the "healthy" arguments about normal vs. overweight. I sing with a group of women. In the 45-75 age group the last few years we've had 3 with breast cancer (all normal weight), 1 heart attack (normal wt), 1 stroke (overweight). We have an number of women with joint issues including knee replacements and shoulder surgeries, all of those women have been overweight/obese. Only 1 person has developed adult-onset diabetes, she's probably the high side of normal weight.

So in my personal observation except for the joint issues, haven't really seen a correlation. On the other hand I had observed there were almost no obese folks in the nursing home where my mother lived, so appears the obese do die at earlier age?


I'm overweight and I had cancer.

Cancer happens to everyone, regardless of their weight. Some people are genetically disposed to it, others have a genetic abnomality (like me) and just get it. A gene mutates in utero and then it turns into cancer. My weight was most likely due to my cancer, not the other way around (since it was thyroid cancer).

Also, heart disease is also genetic. Sometimes it has nothing to do with weight. Sometimes these things just happen, and sometimes it has nothing to do with weight.

but the general rule is, being overweight can contribute to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. It just means that you're more likely to get it, not that you WILL get it. It's like if you're a smoker vs being a nonsmoker: Smokers are more likely to get lung cancer, but nonsmokers can get it too.

Naama
09-18-2009, 06:05 AM
I wanted to point out something here. The article says:
"The study, led by Statistics Canada's Heather Orpana, was devised to estimate the relationship between body mass index and mortality in Canadian adults."

So the indicator to the different weight categories (obese/overweight/normal...) is BMI. But when I started my "journey" two months ago, my BMI was 23.4 - which would have put me sqaurely in the normal weight. HOWEVER, my fat percentage was %36.8 - putting me squarely and much more accurately in the obese category! I was not exercising at all and eating like there's no tomorrow.

While my story is merely anecdotal evidence, it has made me extremely skeptical of the value of BMI as indicator of.... well, anything really.

I do wonder, though, are there any similar studies where the indicator is fat percentage?

sunflowergirl68
09-18-2009, 03:02 PM
@Naama: Muscle isn't taken into account with BMI either. arnold Schwarzenegger and Russel Crowe, for example, are two very large men with a lot of muscle (so is Gerard Butler). And I bet you anything their BMI says that they are obese, but they don't have a lot of fat on them, it's that they're very muscular.

Shawne Merriman, a linebacker for the San Diego Chargers, is 6'4, and weighs 272 lbs and has a BMI of about 33. He's certainly not fat, and it's ALL muscle. The downfall of the BMI is that it doesn't account for muscle AT ALL. So that's why a study like this is flawed. For all we know, it could have profiled people who had a lot of muscle mass, but were healthy and who have high BMIs. They should have measured it in regards to body fat percentage. I bet you anything Shawne Merriman has a very low body fat percentage.