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Are the health risks of obesity overblown?

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Old 02-02-2008, 12:58 PM   #1
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Question Are the health risks of obesity overblown?

This article appeared in the Star Tribune on Thursday:

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle.../15090006.html

pointing to this article in the BMJ (British Medical Journal):

http://press.psprings.co.uk/bmj/february/feat244.pdf

Whaddya think?
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Old 02-02-2008, 03:38 PM   #2
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I think a lot more research on the effects of nutrition and execise in overweight and obese people has to be examined. Using the studies listed in these articles, it can not be determined if it is the weight loss, the improved eating habits, or the increased physical activity (or a combination!) that is bringing the health benefits. Of course, better eating habits and exercise can often lead to weight loss, but what gains can fat but fit people who stay the same weight expect to achieve? I'm not saying that there are not wonderful aspects to being smaller, because there are! But, I would love to know that every effort to become healthier is helping to decrease risk of disease, even if the numbers on the scale or body percent fat are not dropping as quickly as one would like!
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Old 02-02-2008, 04:42 PM   #3
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I don't think that all the pieces of this puzzle are there.

I have heard conflicting reports in regards to life expectancy though. I was under the impression that life expectancy was going down in the US. I blame our food supply and corporate food industries for that though, not obesity per se.

Poor health and diseases of afluence are a problem in our country. I think that there are many factors to consider. Weight is just one of them. I'd imagine it's hard to see the entire spectrum when most studies are focused on small portions of the problem. Unfortuately, scientists and doctors don't have all the answers.
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Old 02-02-2008, 08:40 PM   #4
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Well, I was kinda thinking that the ill effects of obesity are UNDER reported. I think there's most likely much more health problems associated with obesity then is even being reported. From dental issues to skin problems to the really severe ones like cancers, heart disease, diabetes and so force.

Then of course there's the quality of life issues that are hardly ever reported. The lowered life quality of that of an obese person is a really big problem in my opinion, not to mention that having that lesser quality of life has got to lower ones life expectancy, I would think.
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Old 02-08-2008, 09:58 PM   #5
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and the fact that the obese receive poorer quality of care in many cases. I cant count the times where I was told to "lose weight and probably it will go away" and I wasnt even THAT heavy.
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Old 02-09-2008, 06:55 AM   #6
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You know the media really grabs onto and hypes up stuff like this alot. On the other hand we all know the effects of obesity. How many people have been able to go off blood pressure or other meds after losing weight?
And while it's true that life expectancy has increased, is it due to people getting diagnosed earlier with serious problems and getting meds and treatment?
You know my Aunt is tiny, petite and always has been. Yet she has to take something for cholesterol, blood pressure, and has to watch diet or go on a diabetes pill. And she watches everything she eats and walks daily. I have a coworker that weighs over 350 and takes no meds and has no medical problems currently. In my Aunt's case genetics certainly plays a role. Bottom line, if she hadn't taken care of herself, what shape would she be in now?
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Old 02-10-2008, 12:05 PM   #7
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I was responding to another thread, on menapause weight, and this one popped into my head.

Speaking about under reported results of obesity - I have uterine fibroids and there is a DEFINITE obesity factor there. Many of those fibroids lead to hysterectomy and untold complications. There are even more gynological problems that I believe are under reported due to obesity, including infertility. Then there's varicose veins, something else I picked up along the way.

The more I think about it, the more I"m convinced there are many, many underlying health risks to being obese. Many.

And ennay makes a good point. The obese are just not treated well in the medical field. From physicians not knowing enough about the ill effects of obesity, to them not knowing how to deal with weight loss, to the discrimination that obese people face.
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Old 02-10-2008, 12:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockinrobin View Post
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Does it come when it does in a woman's life because she really, really needs a pause from men at that point?
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Old 02-10-2008, 12:43 PM   #9
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I think recently the effects have been blown out of proportion. I think this may be due to the gastric surgery. After all, if weight is not going to save the insurance companies more money down the line, they won't pay for it. I think it is often blown out of proportion to get people to do something about it, like exercise. Have you ever seen that show on TLC that ages the kids? I have always thought they exaggerate the photo to scare people.

But I do think the quality of care for an obese person suffers. Since losing weight my doctors have taken me more seriously.
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Old 02-11-2008, 01:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoulBliss View Post
Does it come when it does in a woman's life because she really, really needs a pause from men at that point?
Yes, I think perhaps it does!
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Old 02-11-2008, 02:14 PM   #11
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I always thought infertility was a plus...

Infertility in obese women is often linked to PCOS which like (type 2) diabetes is heavily related to diet. Like diabetes, with weight loss and a proper diet, it can virtually disappear.

For me, and others, obesity has worn out parts of our bodies way too early. I have mild osteoarthritis in my knees which in my early 30s is unusual. Of course being 300+ lbs from age of 14 on is also unusual.

I do think you can be healthy and obese just like you can be unhealthy and a normal weight, but there are many risk factors with being obese. Even though I was 300+ lbs for over 15 years, I never really had any health problems but I did have PCOS.
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Old 02-11-2008, 02:27 PM   #12
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I think that the health effects of being morbidly obese are probably somewhat underreported, because of the sorts of factors that are really hard to control for...quality of life issues, socioeconomic status...for example, lower socioeconomic status is correlated with higher rates of obesity...are higher cancer death rates in obese populations associated with the fact that they are obese, or the fact that they, as a group, have a lower socioeconomic status and are therefore less likely to have medical screenings to detect cancer earlier or the ability to get certain kinds of care?

Health is not a one-factor-leads-to-another sort of situation...so many factors in our lives have a profound effect on health, including weight, but also including family and genetic history, socioeconomic status, marital/relationship status...the list goes on and on and it is impossible in a study to control for all of the factors...and the media tends to take a correlation (ie, people who have diabetes tend to be people who are obese) and make statements about cause (ie, being overweight causes diabetes!) without having the actual data to back that up.

I do, however, think that the health risks of being mildly overweight are WAY overblown, and that this is a huge problem for body image in this country. I don't buy the idea that the 2 lb difference between a "normal" BMI and an "overweight" one make a whit of difference health or health-risk wise...and think that some people's bodies are MEANT to be near or in an "overweight" range. I have a very healthy body fat percentage...by all measures, it is in the middle of the "Fitness" range...and I skirt around between the very high end of the normal range and the low end of the overweight range. It drives me crazy when doctors/the media/others lump people all together into "overweight and obese" and talk as if the health risks are the same, when, realistically given the data, it isn't the case.
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Old 02-18-2008, 09:04 PM   #13
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Even regardless of what studies say these days, I really think common sense should tell all of us being over-weight is just not healthy. Up until very recently, my main motivation for wanting to keep weight off once and for all was vanity. I wanted to look good.

However, have you really ever watched someone overweight when they are older? And I don't mean only those very obese, but people who could loose 30+ pounds? They move slower, many seem to be in pain from walking, moving. This scares me very much. I am 43 now. The weight does not slide off as easily. I definately do not want to get into my 50-60-70-80's and not have quality of life. I want to be able to bend, move, play and have a life, forever. This is my motivation. I feel its time to get it nipped in the bud now.

OK, then if I look good too, that can be a great perk!
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Old 02-18-2008, 09:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twentytogo View Post
However, have you really ever watched someone overweight when they are older? And I don't mean only those very obese, but people who could loose 30+ pounds? They move slower, many seem to be in pain from walking, moving. This scares me very much. I am 43 now. The weight does not slide off as easily. I definately do not want to get into my 50-60-70-80's and not have quality of life. I want to be able to bend, move, play and have a life, forever. This is my motivation. I feel its time to get it nipped in the bud now.
That's my motivation too. Also heart disease does not occur overnight. It's a very slow process, where plaque and inflammation occur in your arteries. You don't know it's happening. One day, you may start to have angina or you may have a full blown heart attack. I see too many obituaries in the paper of people less than 50 years old dying from a heart attack. It happened to a friend of mine. Obviously you don't have to be obese to have heart disease, but it is obviously a big risk factor. I hope cleaning up my diet will add years to my life so I can be around to see my grandchildren.
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Old 02-25-2008, 04:38 PM   #15
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There was a time I would have latched on to this type of article with all the fervor of a true believer. I SO wanted to believe that I was umm....300+ lbs. and still healthy as a horse because I exercised.

Well, eventually I started slowing down. I was having trouble with even a minimal workout--my legs and feet were killing me. I could see the writing on the wall.

Then there were other health issues that cropped up for me which haven't been attributed to obesity. But I know that there is a link. Medical science has only gone so far at this point. I don't think we know the half of all the ways obesity and poor eating/exercise habits contribute to diseases and conditions. Poor eating/exercise habits also lead to mobility issues, malaise, depression, lack of career opportunities, on and on and on which then feed into a vicious cycle of diminished mental and physical health.

I agree with Mandalinn that at the same time, I'm not buying the alarm over the risks of being mildly overweight. Every body is different. I know that in the past I have been bursting with health while being in the overweight range.



When you get to seriously obese, however, there really is no way to believe it can't effect the body in some way.
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