Friday, August 24, 2007

Can fat be fit? A review

scientific american
In the September edition of Scientific American, Paul Raeburn, a senior science writer, makes himself an advocate of the war on obesity. In his opinion, there is no reason for a peace, and the war should go on.

He attacks a study by Katherine M. Flegal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who has found that mildly overweight adults have a lower risk of dying than those at so-called healthy weights. He does not directly criticize this study but just cites an expert who says that Flegal is wrong. Her analysis is said to be flawed because she did not exclude the smokers and seriously ill people: "When you get sick, you lose weight and you die". Thus, the overweight are not better but the slim on average are worse.

Then he admits that Flegal has just recently published a follow-up of her study where she has accounted for the impact of smoking and serious illness and found that this did not change the results. At this point, Raeburn has no other than claiming a majority of experts supporting his view whereas the weight loss skeptics are only a handful. Not very convincing given the heavy investments of the weight loss industry being at stake!

No comments: