Fat and Health: We Told You So

Debbie says:

From the department of we-weren’t-surprised-were-you, comes this story. The article at the link has the familiar half-disturbed, half-smug tone. (“Oh, no! You don’t mean that fat people aren’t all killing themselves?” “Oh, no! We’ll find another way to spin this tale so that fat is still bad for you.”) The story itself, however, says just about what we’ve known all along: some fat people have high cholesterol and other heart disease risk factors, and so do some thin people. Some fat people don’t, and some thin people don’t.

You have to dig a little to find the real study, which turns out to be yet another spin-off of the NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Studies), which ended in 2004 and provided a lot of reasonably (but not unimpeachably) good data on American eating habits. This particular piece tracked 5400 people, and here’s the conclusion: “Among US adults, there is a high prevalence of clustering of cardiometabolic abnormalities among normal-weight individuals and a high prevalence of overweight and obese individuals who are metabolically healthy.”


To go along with this excellent news, we have the ever-impressive Sandy Szwarc, making sure we know what the media has not been telling us: a highly-respected new metadata analysis from an international group (The Cochrane Collaboration) has reviewed over 10,000 Type II diabetes studies, and found … no data worth the pixels they are printed in.

Despite all of the claims for the benefits of various dietary and lifestyle interventions for type 2 diabetes, none of them are yet supportable by quality evidence. The Cochrane reviewers expressed concern about the lack of hard, clinical endpoints in research to date and said there is a need for future researchers to “take care to record and publish mortality data, changes or delays in medication needs and quality of life, as these are the outcomes of importance to people with type 2 diabetes.”

Lots more at the link: Sandy is always thorough, careful, and clear.

5 thoughts on “Fat and Health: We Told You So

  1. That must be why we aren’t stepping over fat bodies littering the streets.

    Notice how they don’t mention FA? Or say things like ‘this is what those fat acceptance people must be getting at’

    I’ve also got to mention the gracious way you call their denial spin, they are relentless ideologues regardless of facts, science or reality, their only imperative is to mindlessly reitterate their preordained beliefs.

  2. The problem with these studies is that they are probably done using BMI. With BMI, an athletic person will often be above the 25 BMI considered normal weight. Obviously the over 25 BMI athlete suddenly falls into the overweight category, and is obviosly very healthy. At the same time, some the ‘thin’ people might have cancer, or immune defiency diseases, or other diseases that cause wasting, and yet, since they fall under the 25 BMI are considered a ‘normal weight’. So, really…these studies prove nothing.

  3. Obesity is judged by a BMI regardless of factors such as athleticism.

    The overweight category was lowered from 27 to 25 of course, but that doesn’t explain why BMI 30-34.9 seems to be so healthy. And apparently, most fat people are in this category.
    This explains why we simply cannot find the sickness and pathology so routinely touted as if it is fact. Go into hospitals, yes you will see fat people, but over and above the numbers representative, I’d say rarely.

  4. There are simply too many variables that were not included in this study to prove anything either way. What are these peoples ages. What is their stress like. What kind of jobs do they do? This is all information that should be used in such a study, and yet it isn’t. Statistics can be skewed and so can studies.

  5. ‘There are simply too many variables that were not
    included in this study to prove anything either way.’

    ‘Statistics can be skewed and so can studies.’

    Which studies satisfy your requirements fully, and what are their conclusions?

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