Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Is it safe to indulge?

Last week, we learned that modestly overweight people outlive those who are thin. Dr. Stuart Henochowicz, at Medviews, is dismayed by the media's take on this news:
It seems as if people have taken the findings to mean that they are off the hook, that they have been right all along about their eating habits. They are happy to proclaim that those in the nutrition police who have been harassing them for years have been wrong. Well, before you go out and buy extra lard and cases of whipped cream, take a step back and examine the facts. The CDC study, as well as numerous other studies, show that obesity (that is, having a Body-Mass Index, or BMI of 30 or greater) poses significant health risks. Obese patients have a higher risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. People may be thin not because of having a successful dieting program, but rather because they are chronically ill with diseases such as cancer. If you separate out those who are thin and ill from the equation, the benefits of being in the normal weight range would clearly stand out more...

The collective sigh of relief on the part of the overweight does reflect one problem. There are those in our society who obsessively harangue people about every morsel that is placed in their mouths. Clearly, we have to lighten up a bit. And, we need to focus our resources on combating obesity, especially in the young . Obesity in this country has become increasingly a disease of the poor and the near poor, many of whom do not have medical insurance or other resources to get appropriate medical attention.

So, it’s o.k. to take that extra bite. But please don’t go hog wild.
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