Fatties are smokers

Fatties are smokers

Summary: The headline here is that the risks of weight are similar to those of smoking. If your BMI is 30 your lifesspan is cut by roughly 2-4 years, the study says. Get up to 40 and your life is cut short by up to a decade.

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TOPICS: Health
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If you're grossly overweight you cut your likely lifespan by 10 years. Even moderate overweight means you'll likely die 3 years before your time. (Picture from Publicroutes.)

An Oxford University study, published in The Lancet, collected data from 57 other studies done on nearly 900,000 people, starting in the mid-1970s, and found mortality was lowest when the Body Mass Index (BMI) was between 22.5-25.

The headline here is that the risks of weight are similar to those of smoking. If your BMI is 30 your lifesspan is cut by roughly 2-4 years, the study says. Get up to 40 and your life is cut short by up to a decade.

You calculate your BMI by dividing your weight by your height, as at this site. At my current weight of 220 and height of 6'2" my BMI is 28.2. I would need to lose 25 pounds to reach a BMI of 25.

This should tell you just how bad things are because most of my friends think I'm trim. But my excess weight is the equivalent of smoking a half-a-pack of cigarettes each day. A BMI of 30 is now pretty common.

Sir Richard Peto, who conducted the Oxford study, told The Guardian smoking is still worse for you than Big Macs. "Smoking matters enormously more" than obesity in shortening your life, he told the newspaper. So if you gain some pounds after quitting you're still ahead.

But wait, there's more. A study in Texas finds that fat people experience worse outcomes after surgery for pancreatic cancer. Those with a BMI of 35 are also more likely to get the cancer. A Canadian study says the overweight are more likely to miss work, be unproductive, or suffer job stress.

One result is articles like this from physicians assistant Elizabeth McPhilomy, suggested plans for weight loss that work like anti-smoking interventions, with appointments made just to counsel people on weight. This would put doctors in direct competition with weight loss clinics.

There is also a backlash.

Sociologist Samantha Kwan at the University of Houston (go Cougars) wants to de-emphasize the BMI, calling obesity a social problem that doctors have tried to "medicalize." 

Lewis Page of The Register riffs off Kwan's research calling obesity a "moral panic," but noting that those who die young at least leave stuff for the rest of us.

Personally I think absolute faith in the BMI may be overdone. My gym coach is a heavily-muscled guy who seems not to have an ounce of fat on him but I'm sure his BMI is higher than mine.

Although, yeah, I could stand to lose a few pounds.

Topic: Health

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15 comments
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  • Step 1

    Indoctrinate into the health issues of being overweight.

    Step 2. Socialize medicine so everyone bears the cost.

    Step 3. Use step 2 to claim moral authority to control what you eat.

    Step 4. Sit back and smile as a nation full of useful idiots go along with
    your plans to control their lives in the most minute details possible.
    frgough
    • Thanks for your help!

      <i>"those who die young at least leave stuff for the rest of us."</i>

      I <b>do hope</b> that a low BMI is as good as they say, that would mean that future prospects for some of us are not as dire as they seem now.
      InAction Man
    • Watch out...

      ...depression can lead to heart attack. Yet Rush
      Limbaugh still breathes...just shows to go you
      that a correlation is never an absolute
      certainty.
      DanaBlankenhorn
    • Step 6

      Polish your Tin-Foil hat daily...
      BitTwiddler
  • RE: Fatties are smokers

    The BMI at the web site you link to, is only a rough estimate. It has me at a BMI of 25.6 which is overweight. I stand 6'3" and weigh in at 205Lbs... but I am almost solid muscle since I cycle, pack, swim and generally maintain a solid exercise regime. If people want a more accurate BMI then they need to do the hydrostatic test for BMI.

    [url=http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070305202535.htm]A research team from Michigan State University and Saginaw Valley State University measured the BMI of more than 400 college students ? some of whom were athletes and some not ? and found that in most cases the student?s BMI did not accurately reflect his or her percentage of body fat.[/url]

    So just using height weight to determine BMI is inaccurate. The [url=http://www.wikihow.com/Measure-Body-Fat-Using-the-US-Navy-Method]US Navy has[/url] has a pretty accurate method for BMI calculation as well. It's a bit more involved but it is also more accurate.

    Either way, healthy diet, exercise and it's really a non issue. ]:)
    Linux User 147560
    • I noted that

      My coach at the Y looks like the football player
      in "Jump Start" (the comic), yet I noted his BMI
      is likely to be high.
      DanaBlankenhorn
  • One of the joys of eating out

    When I was in school there were no fast food
    joints and students were far thinner than these
    days. Fortunately companies like McDonalds are
    slowly understanding the problem and that might
    help.

    Politicians are also the blame as funds for PE in
    school have been cut in many areas - just when
    they are needed most.

    I think it's back to a need to put PE back in the
    schools and make it active and interesting. Some
    kid standing out in right field for an hour waiting
    for a softball to head his way isn't what I'm talking
    about either.

    Another important step would be blood sugar
    screenings periodically. It would be less than $1
    per test per student and will identify just how bad
    the problem is in the schools.

    Finally there is a need for health education in
    schools. I would think we could swap out one
    course for a semester course that covered
    nutrition, counting carbs, fat, calories, etc.
    Watching blood sugars and also teaching basic
    exercises (in addition to a revised PE).
    Ken_z
  • RE: Fatties are smokers

    They're not fat, they're big boned.
    Loverock Davidson
    • So says the bonehead

      .
      InAction Man
  • The standard BMI is bullsh*t, it has been disproven as a valid source...

    of true health statistics.

    Back when the BMI was first invented, humans were shorter and the samples to verify the test were taken from the same region.


    Ask a real doctor:

    1. Good blood test numbers
    2. Good heart rates
    3. Good Mental Health
    4. Good eating habbits
    5. Family History

    Trying to apply uniformity to the human form is not possible. Each persons health is determined differently than the next.

    With that said, Could we all stand to lose a few pounds? Yes.

    Will it prevent our deaths, nope, might help prolong it though. Does that mean you live healthy until your 90, nope, you may end up with althiemezer(sp?), cancer, muscle diseases, accidents, infectous disease, global war, global famine, etc....

    Hope i didnt depress anyone...
    Been_Done_Before
    • We talked about that at dinner

      I'm 6'2". My son brought up your points,
      unbidden. He'd seen it on CNN. I got 4 of 5 on
      your list -- both sides of my family have high
      blood pressure and my dad had heart problems for
      30 years before he passed in 1999.

      I did 300 crunches after my workout this morning
      but my BMI is still what I reported. I'd love to
      think it's inaccurate due to my height.

      But some making this point are just fatties in
      denial, you know. Not all. Some.
      DanaBlankenhorn
      • I don't buy any of it...

        When I was in the Navy, we had a master-at-arms that was like 6'5 and weighed something like 150 pounds. He had like a 25" waist.

        And he was on MANDATORY PT because his body fat percentage exceeded the Navy standard, which I believe at the time was 21%.

        Why?

        Because of the way it's done. They measure the neck, the waist and apply that to a table that has your height. He came out to like 26% body fat, when he didn't have an ounce of fat on him.

        Why?

        He had a pencil neck. The bigger your waist, the bigger your neck needs to be to keep you out of trouble. Some guys looked like blow-fish during their neck measurements LOL

        His neck was so small it simply didn't compute correctly into the tables.

        On the other hand I, at 230 pounds and 6'4" SHOULD have been on the program (actually did tetter in and out over the years), but my BF percentage was usually just under 21% because.... I have an 18 1/2" neck.
        BitTwiddler
  • My BMI is 43.7 according to that site

    I guess I'm fracked!
    BitTwiddler
    • You might be

      BMI is not the only measure of health. Your
      percentage of body fat is also important.
      DanaBlankenhorn
  • Ratties are smokers

    Excess weight is equivalent to smoking half a packet of cigarettes a day and it?s important to stop smoking if you want to avoid disastrous consequences. Besides excess weight has to be trimmed down with a balanced lifestyle and exercise and of course, NO SMOKING!<a href="http://smokingharms.com/"> SmokingHarms - Quit smoking, Passive Smoking Harms </a>
    natashaclarck