Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Bean counting, deaths, and body weight

Some bean counters in public health seem to be focused too much on certain causes of death, it may be time for a re-appraisal of body weight.

The authors of a big new report on food and cancer have claimed body fat to be a cause of cancer, sometimes spotting a clear evidence in data that look quite unclear, to put it mildly. Based on such evidence, they have claimed that you should be as thin as possible to prevent cancer. But this may be an ill advice, even if their cancer claims might be true. Just because cancer is not the only threat to health. In other words, you may be saved from cancer but likely to die from other causes.

This is the conclusion of a new study about death causes associated with body weight: With a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 30, so-called overweight, about seventy thousand excess deaths from causes other than cancer and heart diseases have been prevented in the United States when compared to the so-called ideal weight of less than BMI 25. And there was no association with deaths from cancer and heart disease in this weight class - a clear contrast to the claims of the food and cancer report. According to this study, the ideal weight should be re-defined as BMI 25 to 30. This sounds like Vietnam and Iraq in the current war on obesity. Let's see how leading public health experts will be dealing with these facts.

Photo credit:

No comments: