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Causes of Death Linked To Weight

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the pick-your-poison dept.

Science 385

An anonymous reader writes to mention that while a couple of years ago researchers found that overweight people have a lower death rate than people with a normal weight, it may be more complicated than that. "Now, investigating further, they found out which diseases are more likely to lead to death in each weight group. Linking, for the first time, causes of death to specific weights, they report that overweight people have a lower death rate because they are much less likely to die from a grab bag of diseases that includes Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, infections and lung disease. And that lower risk is not counteracted by increased risks of dying from any other disease, including cancer, diabetes or heart disease."

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I'm not... (5, Funny)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271531)

I'm not pigging out. I'm defending against Alzheimers and Parkinsons.

Brilliant!

Re:I'm not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21271573)

> I'm not pigging out. I'm defending against Alzheimers and Parkinsons.

"I beat Anorexia!"

Re:I'm not... (3, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271619)

You should have linked the picture [owensworld.com] .

Re:I'm not... (1)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271639)

Wait. Is your weight measured before or after the chemotherapy caused you to stop eating or your out-of-control diabetes put you into ketosis (the state you try to achieve through the Atkins diet)?

Re:I'm not... (5, Interesting)

Retric (704075) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271707)

"And that lower risk is not counteracted by increased risks of dying from any other disease, including cancer, diabetes or heart disease."

Hmm, what about accidents? It seems like extremely overweight people tend to spend more time at home which probably lowers their risks from car / skydiving / whatever accidents. My guess is the low weight stay at home people probably live longer than fat stay at home people. Wonder if I could get a grant to study this...

Re:I'm not... (4, Informative)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272171)

I'm fairly certain that I have read many times over the years that accidents at home create more costs for insurance companies than any other activity. That is, people are more likely to fall down their stairs than having a car or mountaineering accident. In fact, whenever I read/heard about this it was in the context of insurance companies' campaigns to reduce home risks, like "don't stack a chair onto a table to reach to the ceiling."

Dunno if there is a correlation between home accidents and weight, though.

Re:I'm not... (5, Interesting)

BewireNomali (618969) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272111)

the japanese are pretty long-lived, and tend to be pretty small. i heard life expectancy for the japanese drops when they adopt western eating habits (mostly consuming milk) which causes them to grow larger in addition to the fact that the western diet is nutritionally deficient relative to the tradition japanese one. also incidences of all prime causes of early mortality increase: heart disease, etc.

also, women across all societies live longer than men. i think that while women tend to be smaller overall (than men), they tend to have higher BMIs, correct - in the sense that women carry more fat than men in general.

i also read somewhere - and never was able to find it again - that death rates decreased in general the closer one's body mass got to 55kg. man, if i can find that link i'll post it.

when i was a kid, i was undersized for a while - and there was an old lady who lived next door who saw me frustrated about not being big enough to ride the bike i'd gotten. i told her my frustration about being small and she said, "look at hte bright side. if you're small, you'll probably live a long time." Apparently there is some anecdote about living longer if you are smaller.

not that anecdotal evidence means anything, but the japanese population is not an insignificant sample size. interestingly enough, on a biological level longevity is inversely associated with fertility (another factoid i read somehweree that i cannot substantiate at all - no flames please) - and the japanese have one of the lowest birth rates in the first world.

again, no flames as i cannot substantiate these assertions and don't have the time to. But the japanese thing and the woman thing are pretty much documented as regards longevity.

Re:I'm not... (4, Insightful)

badasscat (563442) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272153)

Seriously, now we're going to have to deal with a bunch of obese people pointing to this study as evidence of why they don't feel a need to lose weight.

Something's obviously missing in this study, because there is a positive correlation between average lifespan and obesity rates, both when comparing countries around the world and when comparing historical rates within this country. The simple fact is that all else being equal, the fatter a population is, the shorter its average lifespan. The United States, for example, ranks 42nd in world life expectancy - Japan, with much lower rates obesity and average weight, ranks #2. (Behind Andorra.)

Not to even mention other studies (like this one [medicalnewstoday.com] , for example) that show that being even moderately overweight can increase your risk of heart disease by more than 30% - and that's our nation's #1 killer. That's to say nothing of diabetes.

I'll take my chances on being thin, thanks. One study that appears to contradict all scientific knowledge we've accumulated to this point isn't going to change my mind.

Interesting! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21271533)

But it doesn't explain why all the /really/ old people you see are skinny. You won't find an overweight 90-year-old.

Re:Interesting! (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271581)

At what is considered overweight at 90? 150 pounds is overweight for a 10-year-old, but not for a 20-year-old

Re:Interesting! (4, Interesting)

dpilot (134227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271629)

The /really/ old people, in addition to being skinny, are usually also short.

At 6'4" I take this personally as a bad sign.

On the other hand, there's some guy who's trying to achieve longevity through calorie restriction. Only problem is that he's cut his diet back so far that he doesn't have the energy to enjoy normal activities. He may live a long time, but he won't have much fun doing so. I'd like to live as long as I can live well, and so far in my 50's I can do all of the things I enjoy.

Re:Interesting! (3, Insightful)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271755)

Just remember that the average height in the Western world has gone up significantly in the last century due to better nutrition. A lot of the really old people who are really short also didn't get the best quality, variety, or quantity of food when they were growing up, which is a contributing factor to their shortness.

I bet you the average height of men 80 or older has gone up at least 3 inches in the last 30-40 years. By the time you'd be 80, who knows where it will be?

"more" != "better" (2, Interesting)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272047)

the average height in the Western world has gone up significantly in the last century due to better nutrition
It's more complex, because (duh) this is biology. Actually the increase in height is due to selective breeding and worse nutrition, in the sense that our diet now has dangerously excessive levels of certain nutrients such as protein and omega 6s and 9s, plus junk like cholesterol and growth hormones. That's aside from the excessive servings that have become common. Excessive water usage makes obtaining clean water difficult too; or any at all. Maybe if people turned the clock back a few decades there wouldn't be towns in the richest nation on earth without water, too.

Re:Interesting! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21272141)

It is also possible that "really old people" of a greater height have more difficulty leaving the home. My great grandfather is 90 years old and about 6'4", and while his heart is relatively strong, he cannot achieve good circulation to his legs and thus cannot walk more than short distances. On the other hand, his wife of the same age is small in stature, and as much more agile although generally being in much worse health. This is only a single case, but its a hypothesis.

Re:Interesting! (2, Funny)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271691)

But it doesn't explain why all the /really/ old people you see are skinny. You won't find an overweight 90-year-old.

You haven't met my grandmother. She's getting there.

it aint complicated (2, Interesting)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271537)

Let's break it down.

Smokers eat less. Smokers die of cancer. Cancer kills more people than obesity.

Wow.

There's an even simpler explanation (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271635)

People on chemotherapy lose weight. Sick people tend to eat less than healthy people. Just because A and B are correlated, it doesn't mean that A causes B. B could cause A or they could share a common cause. (I.e., you give one possible explanation, or an explanation for one part of the trend, but there are a whole bunch that readily spring to my mind.)

Re:it aint complicated (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21271641)

That is what I first thought, too. Toward the end, it said even after adjusting for smoking (and sick people) this was true.

you're a freakin genius (2, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271659)

Clearly, NOBODY EVER thought to try to control for other health factors in the study.

Obviously, you, and only you, have noticed this awful, systematic flaw in this study that obviously didn't have to pass an kind of rigorous review process to get published in JAMA.

Praise be, we've found a new Einstein!

Re:you're a freakin genius (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271889)

Somebody paid well. Food and Pharma come to mind.

CC.

Re:it aint complicated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21271675)

RTFA, you eyesore!

Relevant part:

The researchers caution that a study like theirs cannot speak to cause and effect. They do not yet know, precisely, what it is about being underweight, for instance, that increases the death rate from everything except heart disease and cancer. Researchers tried to rule out those who were thin, because they might have been already sick. They also ruled out smokers, and the results did not change.

I take offense! (2, Funny)

Fr05t (69968) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271737)

I'm a fat smoker. You insensitive clod!

Re:it aint complicated (5, Interesting)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271767)

I understand that no-one RTFA, but they corrected for that: and they did it correctly. That's not why.

  Oh, yes, I *actually do* biostatistics and know what I am talking about.

  Now, you are *correct* that there is no cause and effect established here!

  It's entirely possible that genes-which-make-you-thin are also genes-which-give-you-alzheimers, or that they are proxies for such genes.

  For example: being white makes you much more likely to have Cystic Fibrosis. This does not mean that getting a tan prevents CF.

Re:it aint complicated (1)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272113)

Obesity also increases risk of cancer, btw. Just not lung cancer.

And obese people also smoke.

I think it's a little more complicated than that.

duh (2, Insightful)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271547)

may be more complicated than that
This is biology. Of course it is more complicated than that.

Re:duh (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271875)

As much as this is a glib answer, and as much as I hate to disparage people who make a career out of scruting the inscrutable, you're right. I'm filing this under the same heading as the story that grapefruit cures cancer: YBMV (Your Biology Might Vary). Anyone who gorges on pizza, fries and milkshake as a result of this story deserves what they have coming.

Okay ... so ... (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271551)

Diseases that cause people to forget to eat, or be unable to eat, don't kill overweight people?

Of course not.

They kill starved people.

Lower death rate? (5, Funny)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271553)

So, less than 100%?

Re:Lower death rate? (2, Funny)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271603)

Well, a little part of me dies every time they bring back the McRib. Does that count?

Re:Lower death rate? (3, Funny)

EMeta (860558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271667)

This research [theonion.com] is now a decade old, but it's the most recent I can find. The 100% death epidemic is just terrible.

Re:Lower death rate? (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271679)

I dunno. I've seen people argue that America simply couldn't have a 100% mortality rate, because America is too good for that...

Re:Lower death rate? (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271787)

So, less than 100%?


I, for one, welcome our new big boned undead overlords.

Re:Lower death rate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21272051)

So, less than 100%?

I, for one, welcome our new big boned immortal overlords.

FTFY.

Re:Lower death rate? (1)

garbletext (669861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272063)

Until everyone alive today dies, you don't really know. Maybe we'll cure death next Saturday.

To bad for them, they should embrace early death (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21271583)

"Whenever you interview fat people, you feel bad, because you know you're not going to hire them."

-James Watson

Re:To bad for them, they should embrace early deat (2, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271757)

"Whenever you meet fat hookers, you feel bad, because you know they're going to eat you."

-mcgrew

Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (4, Informative)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271593)

The whole study is a joke because it assumes that body mass index is a valid measure of obesity, and it isn't. The only real way to tell how fat you are is to measure your body fat percentage, usually with calipers although some new scales claim to be able to do it electrically.

I lift weights, and I'm at the higher side of the BMI because I've got a bit more muscle mass. Yet, according to that study, I'd be "fat". And I'm not even particularly big. If you got a man who was lifting since their teens into middle age, he could easily have 20 - 40 pounds more muscle than the average joe.

It's wrong to teach BMI in schools. It's wrong to use it as a measure. If you want to know fat, break out the calipers. Anything less, is wrong, and anything based on it, is absurd.

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271677)

Close.
BMI has limited use, and is used to get an overview of a large population.
But, you need to be very muscular for it to tag you as obese.
If you are competing, you should be concerned.

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (1)

zehaeva (1136559) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272099)

I've never thought that Tom Cruise was in the overweight category .. I've seen his BMI estimated from ~27 to 30.

You don't need to be very muscular to be overweight, obese yeah you'd prolly have to work at that a bit more but its not that hard.

"Mr. Willis, i love your movies, but we're going to have to increase your insurance premiums, you see, you are overweight according to your BMI and therefore unhealthy ..."

BMI [wikipedia.org] is a horrible gauge for a study such as this. It is an archaic gauge that oversimplifies the conditions of a human body.

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (1)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271681)

It's wrong to teach BMI in schools. It's wrong to use it as a measure. If you want to know fat, break out the calipers.
"Suzie! Stop poking Scott with those calipers!"

"Danny, stop running around with them, you're going to poke someone's eyes out!"

"NO, LIZ!! You're not supposed to use them on your private area!! STOP IT NOW!!"

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271697)

Muscle mass is heavier than fat mass. When I was on the Paxils I weighed 165 pounds and looked fat. My friend who worked his ass off in a factory weighed the same as me and was shorter, but he looked skinny.

-mcgrew

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (1)

Garridan (597129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271909)

Muscle mass is heavier than fat mass.
If you're going to correct people on their inaccuracies, you should check yourself first.
Mass is mass, regardless. Muscle has higher density than fat. That is true, and probably what you meant. But mass is mass, no matter the substance.

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21272001)

"Mass" has a broader meaning than only its usage in physics.

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (1)

Anomolous Cowturd (190524) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272117)

And a ton of bricks is much heavier than a ton of feathers, isn't it?

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21271715)

Fatso.

(I didn't even read your post, just take it as a standard trolling.)

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (1)

tehdaemon (753808) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271717)

I have yet to hear of a case where the BMI is totally wrong, except bodybuilders.

Can any body inform me otherwise? Or is there any reason not to just put that as a disclaimer and get on with it?

T

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (2, Informative)

coyote-san (38515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271953)

It's also an issue if you're tall or short. Weight goes up as the cube of your size, but the BMI only goes up by the square. So somebody who's 10% taller than average (say a bit under 6" for a guy) should naturally have a BMI range about 10% larger as well. Shoehorning him into BMI 25 is roughly akin to demanding the average guy get under BMI 22.5.

(This is all approximate, of course, but so's the BMI in general. The bottom line is that a single BMI for all heights is the cleanest public health message, but it should be tempered when you're talking about individuals.)

Shorter people have the opposite problem. They might think they're well within the recommended range at BMI 25, but in fact they should be staying under BMI 22.5. This gives them a false sense of security.

BTW, I've seen a similiar message come into vogue recently. Men should have a waist under 40" (by some experts), or under 35" (by the guys who wrote "You on a Diet".) I understand and accept the general premise, but the guy at 5'7" is going to still be a little chubby while I (at 6'2") would be showing some serious ribs.

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21272037)

When i was running track as a freshman in college, I was 5'10", 170lbs and would be considered overweight based on BMI. I had about 4% body fat at the time. Measured by water displacement, before you ask.

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (1)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271743)

I lift weights, and I'm at the higher side of the BMI because I've got a bit more muscle mass. Yet, according to that study, I'd be "fat".

I know what you mean. When I was in junior in college, I was in absolutely fantastic shape. And yet according to that stupid BMI chart, I would have still been classified as "overweight", even for a forty-year-old. The only way I could have weighed any less would have been to stop all strenuous exercise and also stop eating. I wonder how many teenagers that chart has driven into anorexia....

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271761)

Yes, the BMI says that Lance Armstrong is quite overweight. No kidding.

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21271815)

I can't cite any statistics (if anyone can, please do) but I'm pretty sure that people with a high BMI are more likely to be fat rather than muscular.
The thing is, I don't see very many extremely muscular people on the streets. But I do see quite a few fat people.

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (4, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271819)

It's wrong to teach BMI in schools. It's wrong to use it as a measure. If you want to know fat, break out the calipers. Anything less, is wrong, and anything based on it, is absurd.

BMI combined with a shred of common sense is a perfectly fine approximation of obesity. There are two Unix admins here with scary-high BMIs, and you don't need calipers to know which one is obese and which one is just on steroids.

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (5, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272131)

BMI combined with a shred of common sense is a perfectly fine approximation of obesity.

Maybe it's common sense that needs to be taught in schools then.

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (2, Insightful)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271827)

You're technically correct, but I disagreed.

BMI, as a measurement of fatness, gives a really good combination of coverage, it's accurate for the majority of westerners, it's very easy to check and it's easy to explain to people.

Sure, it breaks down when applied to fit people, but works a charm when applied to fatties or anorexics. I honestly can't believe that anyone who was fit enough to be over BMI 25 with muscle would ever think the scale has any application to them.

So, it's technically wrong but practically good.

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (1)

Shoeler (180797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271861)

The whole study is a joke because it assumes that body mass index is a valid measure of obesity, and it isn't. The only real way to tell how fat you are is to measure your body fat percentage, usually with calipers although some new scales claim to be able to do it electrically.


Bingo. Also most people get weighed at their doctors office with crap in their pockets, heavy shoes, etc. I weigh in at 198 in the morning when I wake up. By the time I eat breakfast and get dressed, I weigh in at 210-ish at the doctor's office. I'm 5'11, so my BMI at 198 is a slightly overweight 27.6. Once dressed and fed, I'm a 29.3, almost obese.

Oh and I run 3x or more a week, lift 1-2x a week and make a close watch of what I eat - wheat wraps with specifically sized portions of lowfat mayo, lots of mustard (practically calorie-free) and measured cheese and meats. I snack on carrots, apples, triscuits and small amounts of lowfat cheese. I eat low sugar oatmeal for breakfast. In the last year, that netted me about a 30-35 lb weight loss. I hardly believe that my body fat % is the same as someone of the same weight and height that sits on their ass all day.

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21272091)

shut up fatty

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (1)

garbletext (669861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272119)

12 Pounds of clothes? Who are you, Mr. T?

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (1)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271867)

Mod parent up. A fat slob and a body builder can have the exact same BMI, yet their risk for various diseases are going to completely different. These articles never talked about the fact that the elderly lose bone matter and probably have a lower BMI then younger healthy people. In fact this research didn't even seem to take into account age at all.

I didn't see anything about when they BMI'd these individuals. Did they weigh them a few weeks before, a year before, after? Furthermore, what about the diseases that cause you to lose weight? You can lose a lot of muscle mass from laying in a hospital bed for weeks. I think the "correlation != causation" argument applies to even this finding. It could be that the diseases that cause the death also cause the weight loss.

Sad thing is, I know people who will use this research as an excuse to treat their bodies like shit.

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271927)

Sure. So tell me, what is the percentage of people with a BMI > 30 who are actually very muscular and not obese? The answer is: miniscule. Over a large population, especially for those in an industrialized nation, BMI > 30 practically means obese.

Yes, and also sensationalist (1, Insightful)

dsginter (104154) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271975)

Why is there a category missing completely? They've got underweight, overweight and obese. Where's the "target weight" category?

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (1)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271981)

When I was more serious about lifting, my height/weight ratio had be as borderline obese, despite being 6 feet tall and wearing 31" pants... :-)

Now I'm still borderline obese, but it's slightly more deserved. Not entirely, but definitely more so than before. :-(

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (1)

lostsatellite82 (1153629) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272009)

It was my understanding that BMI wasn't necessarily a way to tell how fat a person is but to determine how much stress that weight is putting on that person's body.

Even if you're 2% body fat, your joints, heart, etc. have to work harder to maintain your weight regardless of whether that weight is primarily fat or muscle. And that's why there have been links shown between completive body building and heart disease.

Besides, the article says that maybe you shouldn't be concerned about BMI if you're healthy which is exactly the point you seem to be making.
Dr. Gail, though, had some advice, which, he said, is his personal opinion as a physician and researcher: "If you are in the pink and feeling well and getting a good amount of exercise and if your doctor is very happy with your lab values and other test results, then I am not sure there is any urgency to change your weight."

Re:Body Mass Index Not a Measure of Obesity (1)

KenRH (265139) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272147)

Others have already said some of the same but still, BMI is usefull when considering populations. When the BMI of a population goes up it is probably because they are getting fatter, unless there is a bodybuilding craze on.

The problem with BMI is when it is used on individuals, espesially when insuranse companies denies you health insuranse because your BMI is to high, according to their tables, even if it is all muscle.

The Times They Are A-Changin' ... (4, Informative)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271595)

In 2005: "Obesity Threatens to Cut U.S. Life Expectancy, New Analysis Suggests"
http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/mar2005/nia-16.htm

Besides, being underweight, I don't buy into it anyway.

CC.

Re:The Times They Are A-Changin' ... (2, Funny)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271661)

Besides, being underweight, I don't buy into it anyway.

Look, we all understand about denial. But this is your health we're talking about; there's no room for self-deception. Now go on. Eat that triple-burger and super-size fries. I know you can do it.

Re:The Times They Are A-Changin' ... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271923)

You were trying for funny, but I'd have modded you insightful. After half a century on this planet I've discovered that you should never EVER take any of these studies seriously. Woody Allen had it right in "sleeper".

They used to say butter would kill you. It was cheaper than margarine, and as I like butter that was ok by me. But now? Margarine is bad for you and butter is good for you! The price has skyrocketed.

Or salt. Salt is bad for you because it raises blood pressure. But when I get my blood pressure taken, it's always low. Clearly salt isn't going to hurt me. Plus it's about the only way to get iodine.

They keep doing studies trying to prove that marijuana is bad for you - only the studies keep saying it's GOOD for you! One study tried to prove it caused cancer, but instead proved it prevents cancer! [newscientist.com]

And as an Onion story [theonion.com] said:

As the body count continues to rise, a shaken nation is struggling to cope in the wake of the mass deaths sweeping the world population. With no concrete figures available at this early stage, experts estimate at least 250,000 U.S. citizens have died in the last month alone, with death tolls across the globe reaching into the millions.

The wave of deaths has left a brutal aftermath, rocking survivors with feelings of loss and horror, traumatizing the American cultural landscape to its core and leaving behind emotional devastation some say may take years to heal.

What's worse, experts say, the crisis shows no signs of letting up any time soon.

"Oh, my God," sobbed Edina, MN resident Elizabeth Kendrick, 42, whose father, retired insurance actuary Gilbert Ploman, 68, lost his life last Thursday at Shady Villa Nursing Home. "He was a good man, a kind man who never did anything to deserve this terrible fate. Why did something like this have to happen? Oh, God, why?"

-mcgrew

Re:The Times They Are A-Changin' ... (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272061)

Look, we all understand about denial

:)

CC.

Re:The Times They Are A-Changin' ... (2, Informative)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272021)

If you look at the graphs, being overweight reduced your chances... but being obese looked like it greatly INCREASED your chances of dying.

i remember reading somewhere (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271605)

that it is best to be somewhat overweight when you are elderly, that this weight class had the lowest levels of mortality. that when you are old, being thin is a greater danger than being somewhat overweight, for all of the risk factors mentioned above in the story summary

however, at all other times in your life, being any kind of overweight begins the inevitable accumulation of damage due to extra fats in the system, extra sugars, extra inflammatory agents, etc.

so i think the best idea would be to remain thin throughout your life until old age. then, rack on the pounds (but not TOO many pounds: being grossly overweight is bad at any age)

So I guess that means... (1)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271623)

those of us who were taught maladies such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease could be linked to obesity were just plain wrong? Great, I'm going to Jack In The Box to order a couple Sirloin burgers, large fries and giant coke! Then, I'll have a box of delicious Oreo Cakesters for desert. And I don't want to forget to cancel my useless gym membership, either. Thank you, science!

Re:So I guess that means... (1)

stretch0611 (603238) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271793)

If you read the article (actually look at the pretty chart) Diabetes and some cancer are still higher risks for moderately overweight people. It is just that there are far fewer deaths added from these causes than the number of deaths removed from other causes.

Also, the article summary is misleading because it fails to mention that obesity is still a huge health risk in most cases.

Is there a link to Chinese traditional medicine? (2, Funny)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271625)

A Chinese colleague of mine once remarked that my buddha belly would mark me as a lucky person in China.

Re:Is there a link to Chinese traditional medicine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21271773)

They'd be envious of your diet. You don't get fat eating boiled cabbage and rich three times a day.

Re:Is there a link to Chinese traditional medicine (1)

ross.w (87751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271893)

In Shanghai at least (the only bit of China I've seen) there don't seem to be many fat people. Most workplaces have cafeterias. I ate in one once and the food consisted mainly of cabbage and minced pork. They also mostly ride bicycles. When they can all afford cars and more food, watch the obesity epidemic begin! ...right after the asthma and lung disease.

Re:Is there a link to Chinese traditional medicine (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272043)

A Chinese colleague of mine once remarked that my buddha belly would mark me as a lucky person in China

Maybe in China, but I found out when I put on a huge gut from taking Paxil and drinking beer [kuro5hin.org] that in America, you never get lucky with a big gut. Now that I'm off the Paxil I lost all the weight I gained... Oh hell I still don't get lucky very often. But with the Bhudda Belly I never got lucky.

-mcgrew

Nice trick, if you can pull it off... (3, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271637)

Strange, I coulda swore I saw something someplace that said the death rate is the same for everybody - One life, one death.

Personally, with my current health state, I don't want to live forever. And yes, I live in what most believe to be the most technologically advanced society on the planet, however, medical technology ain't cheap. What good is top-notch health care if you can't afford it?

Re:Nice trick, if you can pull it off... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271791)

Get a better job.

Personally, yeah, sign me up for that 'won't die of old age' treatment.

Wisdom from an old lady: (2, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272103)

My grandmother told me when she was 95 years old "I don't know why people want to live to be a hundred. It ain't no fun bein' old!"

She died in 2003 just short of her hundredth birthday.

-mcgrew

That's great, but... (2, Funny)

diesel66 (254283) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271643)

...they found out which diseases are more likely to lead to death in each weight group. Linking, for the first time, causes of death to specific weights...

That's great, but there's still that whole 'death' thing.

Wake me up when they work that one out. If I'm alive.

Re:That's great, but... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271719)

Hell, wake me up even if I'm dead... ESPECIALLY if I am dead.

Can't tell (0)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271655)

I can't tell from the article - but is this because the fat people die sooner due to weight related problems and thus those diseases don't affect them as much, or is it just at that fat people don't plain die as much as skinny people?

Re:Can't tell (1)

Karl0Erik (1138443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271759)

(...)or is it just at that fat people don't plain die as much as skinny people?

Actually, only about 5 of 7 overweight people die. The rest go on to live long (!), happy lives.

not weight--waist (3, Interesting)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271765)

Recent studies show that a persons weight or BMI are terrible indicators of their overall health. The best method available (without special equipment) is the ratio of waist size to height.

If your waist circumference is less than 50% of your height, you are at a low risk for fat-related diseases. If it is more than 50%, get to the gym, stat!

Other factors may be skewing the results... (3, Interesting)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271823)

Just a thought: According to the graph in the first link, underweight people have a greater chance than overweight people of dying of lung diseases and coronary heart disease. However, smoking, a major causative factor in both groups of diseases, also suppresses the appetite and causes people who would normally be normal or overweight to become underweight. Thus, underweight people might be more likely to die from lung disease and heart disease, but this may just be becaquse underweight people are more likely to smoke.

So, even if smoking isn't actually a major factor int he result, one has to look at the lifestyles that each weight group is likely to lead in order to determine what the important relationships are. Causations are what's important, not correlations.

Re:Other factors may be skewing the results... (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271983)

Not to mention the wasting effects of cancer: by the time one dies of cancer, one may have been "underweight" for quite a few years.

Bogusness abounds!

Re:Other factors may be skewing the results... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21271991)

You got your causation a little backwards there. Underweight people are not more likely to smoke, it is more likely someone underweight is a smoker. Being underweight does not make you a smoker, but being a smoker CAN make you underweight.

Re:Other factors may be skewing the results... (1)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272031)

Distinction without a difference. Also, I did say that smoking is what causes someone to be underweight. This would produce a false correlation of underweight people who are more likely to die of coronary and lung disease.

Re:Other factors may be skewing the results... (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272055)

According to the graph in the first link, underweight people have a greater chance than overweight people of dying of lung diseases and coronary heart disease. However, smoking, a major causative factor in both groups of diseases, also suppresses the appetite and causes people who would normally be normal or overweight to become underweight. Thus, underweight people might be more likely to die from lung disease and heart disease, but this may just be because underweight people are more likely to smoke.

Sooo, smoker's appetites are suppressed because of smoking and therefore they're skinnier and therefore they'll die quicker because they're a smoker as apposed to being overweight? [I'm cross-eyed now.]

Weight Loss is a Symptom, not a Cause (2, Interesting)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271829)

Low weight is a symptom seen in many people with diseases that will kill them: Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, cancers ... and the loss of weight happens after the disease is well under way. It's a common symptom, not the cause or even contributing factor.

Re:Weight Loss is a Symptom, not a Cause (1)

garbletext (669861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272159)

++. Scientists know better than to confuse correlation and causation, so I can only conclude that this is designed to ignite controversy.

Less EXCESS Deaths (4, Funny)

trongey (21550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271847)

The chart compares the number of "Excess" deaths. So I guess this really just means that us fat people are less likely to die more than once.

Why do we read medical studies (3, Interesting)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271881)

What's right for one person is not right for another? Is milk good for you? I bet if you search for that you'll find research going both ways... We're all... Snowflakes... There was a guy in New York who lived to be over 100 living on Thunderbird Wine and Bread fried in fat back. When asked why he doesn't fry his bread in bacon he said because it was too lean. Here was a guy who knew exactly what his body needed and lived to be a ripe old age. If he'd of gone to a doctor they'd of told him to eat some vegetables and he'd of been dead in a week...

Here's why... (1)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272087)

Dr. Gail, though, had some advice, which, he said, is his personal opinion as a physician and researcher: "If you are in the pink and feeling well and getting a good amount of exercise and if your doctor is very happy with your lab values and other test results, then I am not sure there is any urgency to change your weight."

I don't know about you, but when I'm "in the pink and getting a good amount of exercise" I feel friggin FANTASTIC. Now I have a medical study that documents sex being good for me, thus I support this research wholeheartedly.

Re:Why do we read medical studies (1)

Anomolous Cowturd (190524) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272175)

Well done sir, you've just made medical science obsolete! Now all the doctors can become pig farmers or something.

Weighed Before or After Illness? (2, Insightful)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21271945)

If they weighed a person suffering from lukemia - by the time the disease had devastated the body - they wouldn't be fat anymore! Therefore... skinny people die young! Stupid.

wait a second... (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272039)

"And that lower risk is not counteracted by increased risks of dying from any other disease, including cancer, diabetes or heart disease." So, in other words, overweight people are *not* less likely to die than underweight people. They just have an inexplicably lower death rate?

Now THAT'S food for thought... (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272065)

Talk about adding "weight" to the "body of evidence". This ought to be a meaty topic to chew on.

What's next? Scientists discover an inverse relationship between resistance to being struck by lighting the more body hair the would-be struckee has?

I for one (1)

ewhenn (647989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272071)

I for one welcome our Pizza eating Overlords.

Great, another study. (1)

TheBrutalTruth (890948) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272085)

Come on all - you know that data from a study can be manipulated many ways, and proponents of results (especially those involving the overweight/obese, since the majority of America is) can get a little carried away.


As can opponents, such as I. I view this a another excuse to be a Telle-Tubby wanna be. Personally, I'd rather die young and skinny than fat and old, unable to do jack sh*t in my golden years because I can't move my arse.


I suggest another study on this study, studying the effects of this study's results causing the Great Twinkie Shortage of 2007...

Ok good, can we study why fat women are always (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21272121)

Can we apply this same team to study why fat women are always having daughters.. :*(
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