Feeds

'Being fat is no worse for you than being a woman'

Rising health costs not swingbellies' fault?

High performance access to file storage

The widely-discredited Body Mass Index (BMI) method of measuring how fat a person is took another hammering today. Scientists in the USA have announced a study showing that an "overweight" BMI is not linked to poor health at all, and even an "obese" rating seems to be nothing to worry about for under-40s.

“A lot of people make a big deal about those overweight BMIs," said Brant Jarrett of Ohio State university.

"But we didn’t see a difference [in health] between overweight and normal-weight adults across all age groups. For college-age adults, this should help them realize that they don’t have to worry so much if they have a BMI of 27 or 28. Some young people with these BMIs feel like, ‘I’m going to have all these problems, I need to try 50 different diets.’ And what is all that stress and dieting doing to your body? Probably more damage than the extra 15 pounds is.”

British and American health authorities class someone as "overweight" if their BMI lies between 25 and 30, and "obese" after that. BMI statistics underlie the vast majority of "obesity epidemic" headlines, and are often used by the healthcare industry to justify soaring costs.

But according to Jarrett, "overweight" people don't get ill or require medical treatment any more often than "normal" ones. Even the "obese" show no difference until past the age of 40.

Among the over-forties obese people were significantly more likely to be taking medication for a health problem related to physical factors (as opposed to mental conditions, which were removed from the statistics). Even then the difference between norms and fatties was barely bigger than that between men and women - women are much more likely to be on medication than men are.

In fact, normal-BMI US women over 40 are almost as likely to be on medication as obese-BMI men: the proportions are 57 and 61 per cent respectively. It would seem that simply being female is pretty much as bad for you - and as expensive for society to pay for - as being a fat man.

Unsurprisingly almost 70 per cent of obese-BMI ladies in the study were on relevant medication, 9 per cent more than among the norms. The reasons why women use so much more medication than men are unknown, says Jarett.

The general increase across the whole US population over time in the proportion of people taking medication could be linked to the parallel rise in BMI, the scientist adds. But it might also simply result from "more aggressive physician approaches to treatments that accompany advances in technology".

Or in other words the creeping conversion of the Western citizenry from healthy people to ill ones - and the society-crippling expense of this - might be doctors' and the healthcare industry's fault, and not caused by idleness and pie-scoffing after all.

The study is published in the International Journal of Obesity. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Saturn spotted spawning new FEMTO-MOON
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.