Friday, January 25, 2013


Overweight and obesity related health disorders are increasingly becoming common, especially among population in wealthy countries who have easy access to cheap but calorie and fat rich food products. Billions of dollars are being invested by consumers affected by these disorders for getting rid of excess weight and fat in the body to escape from the consequences of overweight, scientifically documented by many studies at the international level. While a majority of medical, nutritional and health experts feel that overweight is really dangerous, there is a small segment of scientific community which maintains that over weight people are not at greater risk of dying compared to normal weight persons. Here is a take on this conflicting views which can derail the current aggressive approach on obesity alleviation.

"It's a common medical refrain: Carrying extra pounds raises the risk of ills such as heart disease and diabetes and therefore the risk of a premature death. But does that heightened risk of early death apply across the board to those who are merely overweight? A new analysis of nearly 3 million people suggests maybe not. The finding, published on-line Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., pooled data from 97 studies encompassing adult men and women in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, China, Taiwan, Japan, Brazil, India and Mexico. A total of 270,000 people died of any cause during the studies. When the scientists crunched the numbers, they found, as expected, that people who were significantly obese — with a body mass index, or BMI, of 35 or more — had shorter life spans on average than those who were of normal weight, defined as having a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9. But the scientists also found that people classified as overweight, with a BMI of 25 to 29.9, died at slightly lower rates — not higher — than those of so-called normal weight. And they found that those who were mildly obese, with a BMI of 30 to 34.9, died in no greater numbers than did their normal-weight peers".

Is it not a disservice to humanity when scientists supposed to be searching for truth in whatever they do, indulge in such semantics putting the consumers in great distress not knowing what to believe? A closer scrutiny of the new findings reveals that the conclusions are based on crunching of health  data of thousands of persons and their past history. Though the data have been statistically analyzed, it is difficult to fully comprehend the significance of the new conclusion because a wrong reading can lead to millions of people presently on diet control, to be less vigilant and disciplined in eating that can have unknown consequences in future. A possible and rational explanation for the above unusual findings can be that those who are overweight might have been suffering from diseases like diabetes, CVD and hypertension, forcing them to resort to good and regular medication making their lives much more protective compared to normal healthy persons.  


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