T Nation

Obesity Paradox


[There are more of these along the lower right of the blog]

Not sure what to make of these.

Here's an interesting quote from the first one:

And being thin accounts for 37,746 premature deaths. More than even being the most extremely â??obeseâ?? (BMI >35)! Worse, being thin is riskiest of all for those over age 60 and puts them at double the risk of â??normalâ?? weight. Itâ??s even riskier than being the most extremely â??obese.â??

I quote this since this motivates us to continue to add mass (in our cases muscle), as being thin (BMI<20) is as bad as being extremely obese!

I wonder what the research would be like if they were using Bodyfat percentage instead of BMI.



I think fat people will do anything to pretend they aren't disgusting and generally unhealthy. And if we are talking thin as in anorexic/bulimic (which I would assume as "thin" non anorexic people probably aren't dying of being normal), they have a mental issue too, not just pure unadulterated laziness. Sure a few obese people might have issues, but 60% of the US population isn't plagued by some mental disorder that leads to obesity. Now thinking about i think that number is bullshit, or at least if there are 38,000 skinny people dying there are probably twice as many fat people dying over their obesity.

As far as using bodyfat percentage, I don't think it would make much of a difference as far as obese people go. Many here on T-Nation are exceptions, but how many people do you see going around at 6' 260 lbs and sub 18% bodyfat (bmi of 35.3). BMI is obviously shitty, but it is quick and will accurately say "you're a fatass" for 99% of the population.


Even if this is true...

Living 5 less years while being mobile and happy > Living 5 more years with knee and back pain, and getting out of breath while walking up a short flight of stairs.


I doubt it is, though. People that regularly participate in exercise throughout their lives not only live longer, but have a significantly higher quality of life, even if they are a little overweight, somewhat underweight, or even if the form of exercise they choose isn't particularly demanding (like steady state cardio, lighter lifting, etc).

But yeah, seriously, who wants to spend decades alive but struggling with chronic pain, health conditions, and stress? That will really cause the bills to stack up, and in a time where social security's end is near and where many stocks and thus mutual funds and bonds are in the crapper, no one needs extra stress from mounting medical bills, especially from something that's extremely preventable.


As an added note: The blog the OP posted seems to have the idea that society (presumably American society) is disgusted with fatness and fetishizes thinness. This is not, however, some mechanism of society or control, it is built into every single one of us. Extreme fatness is commonly perceived as disgusting because in our primitive minds, it is unnatural and a disease.

A favorite quote of mine:

Your kind often complains about "invisibility," but the truth is that you want to be invisible because when people look at you and react to you in a natural way you are outraged by their disgust. They aren't bad people because they are disgusted, you are a bad person because you are disgusting.


That's some very selective and simplistic writing there. Being overweight has some benifits surely, but the writer doesn't take into account the overall quality of life for one thing.


Linking an instinctual reaction to a moral judgment.

I guess gay people are "bad" too if they disgust you.

What about homeless people and cancer patients?


That's what I'm thinking as well.

Its like the writer totally disregards all the negative side effects of being obese. Especially the social side-effects, such as dating and their sex life.

I can accept how being just overweight isn't that much of a health issue. As in it is very easy to be overweight by BMI, i.e. 25-30. For example these are the weights at which men become overweight by BMI (i.e. BMI = 25):

Height Weight

5'5" 150
5'6" 155
5'7" 159
5'8" 164
5'9" 169
5'10" 174
5'11" 179
6' 184
6'1" 189
6'2" 194
Source: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/bmi_tbl.pdf

But I just don't buy the stuff about the obese.

Here is a vid with the author of the book rethinking thin:

Listen to the stuff she says about none of the fat people being able to remain thin after a diet. Something must have been very wrong with these studies, I mean look at all FFBs on this website alone. Possibly the factor missing in these studies is muscle and weight training.

Have the obese people try to put on muscle after they have lost fat. That way they can satisfy some of their the hunger without turning obese again.


The issue with that is 1) no body wants to go through the commitment to get any kind of muscle (because the time spent could be used to go eat a muffin) and 2) P.E Programs, atleast the one I had in middle school and in my high school, was/is useless. It just promotes playing basketball and other sport activities, but not weight lifting, but the majority of america is oblivious to weight lifting. Anytime I ask someone what kind of lifts they do, I get "this, and this. And this!" which is usually dumbbell curling motions and the "leg press thing".


Sorry i don't buy it. Unless their idea fat is absurd. I guess according to them most here are overweight and fat if they went by your weight alone. So sure those people will be healthier and more robust then a thin person that never does anything and lives on coffee and cigarettes. This is a funny spin and it's all BS imo.

I'm 250 at 6'3 right now and that makes me very overweight perhaps even close to being obese. But in reality nothing could be further from the truth.


I actually work as a clinical psychologist in a hospital and a huge part of my job includes working with obese patients (I do the psychodiagnostic evaluations prior to bariatric surgery and give behavioral therapy).

Most obese patients we see report -aside of the usual medical complaints- depression, anxiety, low self-image and -esteem, sensitivity in social situations with sometimes even social phobia, shame and disgust,... Most of the time obesity isn't the actual problem. It's about a multitude of medical, social, emotional and demographic issues. This is why just prescribing a diet and exercise-program doesn't work, certainly in the long run. A lot of the time people just follow a certain plan without knowing the whole rationale behind it. Also, the emotional value of food is greatly underestimated. It's quite common to see patients suffer from depression after bariatric surgery because their primary coping mechanism (finding comfort in eating) is taken away from them.

In treating obese patients the focus should be a healthy lifestyle which includes adequate exercise, healthy food choices and good mental health. The key is not prescribing certain things, it's all about education, motivation and negotiating. If a patient is reluctant to do certain things, then we can make him/her aware of the possible consequences and motivate him/her to experiment with certain new behavior. But the ultimate decision lies with them. If they don't see the purpose, then they just won't do it.

Sad thing is I have to work with a dietician that looks at me like I'm an idiot when I'm asking her about carb-tolerance. Heck, she will be all over the place if I tell her about my protein intake. But she has that little piece of paper.

It's rather satisfying when I can convert one of my patients to some sort of strength training. But it's a pain in the ass when a patient tells me that her PT at the gym is dissapointed about the rate of speed her weight loss is going. You'd think they'd know all about the effects of strength training on body composition and that bodyweight/BMI isn't really a good indicator of it.


I just like being awesome. I don't think being fat is awesome, so I'm not fat.


LOL @ Steel Nation

That's the biggest mind-blower to me. I mean sure, there are exceptions, but generally fat people date fat people and skinny people date skinny people.
So by being fat, unless you're lucky, you're going to have sex with fat people.
I just couldn't do a fat chick. No way. I don't know how anyone could find that attractive.


The issue is that they are taking findings from large studies and trying to give recommendations to one individual. Yes, many people fail at weight loss, for a host of reasons. That does not mean a damn thing when it comes to any one individual. It would be like taking the average income of a nation and telling anyone from that country that it's nearly impossible to make more money than that.

I hate how these studies are used as "evidence" that "diets won't work for you." That's not what these studies are saying.


The obesity "epidemic" is just another example of how people don't want to get involved in their own lives anymore. Everyone wants the government to handle every problem in America. People eat crap everyday and in large quantities and they get fat. Then everyone wants the government to crack down on trans fat, fast food, junk food, etc. Since when did it become the government's job to tell us what we could and couldn't eat? If you're fat it's not McDonald's fault. The reason we have a nation full of obese people is because they don't want to control what they eat, and they always act like they are the victims.