Feeds

Being a skinny is much more unhealthy than being fat – new study

Maybe you can't be too rich – but you can be too thin

High performance access to file storage

Yet another study has shown that the so-called "obesity" epidemic sweeping the wealthy nations of the world has been massively over-hyped, as new results show that is is far more dangerous to be assessed as "underweight" than it is to be assessed even as "severely obese" - let alone merely "obese" or "overweight".

"There is currently a widespread belief that any degree of overweight or obesity increases the risk of death, however our findings suggest this may not be the case," says health prof Anthony Jerant, lead author of the study. "In the six-year timeframe of our evaluation, we found that only severe obesity was associated with an increased risk of death."

Most statistics in this field are still based on the now widely discredited Body Mass Index (BMI) system, under which people are assessed as "underweight", "normal", "overweight", "obese" or "severely obese". BMI, devised in the early 19th century by an obscure Belgian sociologist without medical qualifications, copes poorly with increases in height as it assumes the human body will scale up in mass in proportion to the square of height – which doesn't allow for the fact that bodies are three dimensional – and further fails to allow for the greater cross-sectional area needed in supporting structures to carry increasing weights.

Jerant and his colleagues, surveying nearly 51,000 Americans of all ages over a period of six years, found that "underweight" BMI was far and away the most dangerous category to be placed in. During the study period, the "underweight" subjects showed a risk of death no less than twice as high as the "normal" participants.

It was considerably safer to be "severely obese": the people in this category were just 1.26 times as likely to die as "normals". This was because more of them suffered from hypertension and diabetes, and once people without these two conditions were subtracted, the many non-diabetic, non-hypertense "severely obese" fatties were no more likely to die than "normal" people. People who were merely "obese" or "overweight" didn't suffer from diabetes or hypertension any more than "normal" people, and ran no increased risks.

"We hope our findings will trigger studies that re-examine the relationship of being overweight or obese with long-term mortality," comments Jerant.

The study is published by the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. ®

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
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
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
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

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
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.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
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.