The Obesity Paradox!

This headline in today’s Chicago Tribune captured my attention as I sipped my second cup of coffee.  Recent research is questioning whether being obese is really connected to a higher risk of death from cardiac disease, stroke or type 2 diabetes.  Cardiologist, Carl Lavie was treating patients for heart failure and learning that those who were obese were living longer than patients who were midly overweight or thin!

Americans are religiously obsessed with weight. Another interesting finding of Lavie’s is the lack of increased obesity since 2008.

What About Disease And Heaviness?

Dr. Lavie’s reports that his patients who were lean “had almost double the mortality rate of those described as overweight and obese”. He did further research on this subject and found a Swedish study of 64,000 people with heart disease. The study found that underweight patients “upped their risk of death by a factor of 3.”  The authors of the study contend that telling patients to lose weight after a heart disease diagnosis might not be a good recommendation.  The conclusions from many of these studies on this topic are

that once someone falls into the category of being overweight, it appears that being healthy is not equated with weight loss.  Heavier people are more likely to survive the ravages of disease!  This scenario has been noticed so frequently that it has been dubbed “The

Obesity Paradox”.          How Useful is BMI for Older People?

Body Mass Index is NOT useful.  It’s incorrect usage has made it universally unreliable and inaccurate.  For example, a person with an overweight BMI may be metabolically healthier than a normal weight person because they are more physically fit. Also, if an overweight person gains muscle their BMI worsens!  Also, Lavie feels that the BMI has misdirected guidelines in use with the elderly. Research shows that obesity in older people is associated with lower – not higher- risk of death.

A nutritionist at the University of California, Davis and Dr. Lavie agree that paying attention to a persons weight as a barometer of their health is incorrect.   There is scant evidence that you gain much by losing weight.

Does this his mean I can visit the donut vault without guilt?  What do you think?


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