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

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Reg reader fires up Pi-powered anti-cat garden sprinkler system
Crap in my begonias? Oh no you don't, you furry little sod
NASA aborts third attempt at finally settling man-made CO2 debate
Two birds died trying. Will the third make it?
Would it be BAD if the Amazon rainforest was all FARMS? Well it WAS, once
Used to be all fields round here: Jungle tribesman saying
'BIGGEST BIRD EVER': 21-foot ripsaw-beaked flying HORROR
Fossil avian cruised above sea like toothy ekranoplan
Boeing to start work on most powerful rocket ... EVER!
NASA okays start of Space Launch System after design review
In space no one can hear you scream, but Voyager 1 can hear A ROAR
Boffins now very, very, sure craft is in interstellar space, and it's picking up 'sounds'
SPACE: The FINAL FRONTIER. These are the TEN-YEAR images of star probe Cassini
Fuel running fearfully low, but the mission continues
Help us out readers: How would you sniff and store network traffic?
Phase two of our deep desert project needs your wisdom
Boffins urge European Commission to reboot electric brain project
Billion-Euro simulated mind project criticised for narrow thinking
prev story

Whitepapers

How modern custom applications can spur business growth.
In this whitepaper learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem
Only the Power of One delivers leading infrastructure convergence, availability and scalability with federation, and agility through data center automation.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization
Virtualization continues to be one of the most effective ways to consolidate, reduce cost, and make data centers more efficient.
Build a Business Case: Developing Custom Apps
In this whitepaper learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.