“Obesity, Overweight, and Conflicted Studies”

The obesity scare has been around for decades but where is the truth about being overweight?  It all started in 2004, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists published a study suggesting obesity was responsible for 400,000 deaths a year, making it almost as deadly as smoking.  It turned out to be a false alarm:  The authors made methodological errors that skewed their number too high.  So, in 2005, another study found obesity was only responsible for about 112,000 excess deaths.  They also found something peculiar.  Being “overweight,” but not obese, was not associated with an increased risk of death at all.  In 2013, a meta-analysis study found that even when adjusting for smoking, age, and sex, overweight people—those with a body mass index of between 25 and 30—had a 6 percent lower risk of dying than normal-weight individuals.  Normal BMI for women is 18.5-24.9.  Obesity is technically defined as having a BMI greater than 30 kg/m2 or more.  The paper found that in terms of mortality, it’s better for this number to be slightly elevated than to be normal.  A 5-foot-6-inch woman, in other words, would be better off weighing 180 pounds than 120.  But, a Harvard so called expert called this study “a pile of rubbish.”  More confusing studies have followed.  In 2016, other researchers from around the world published a paper in The Lancet analyzing 239 studies and millions of study subjects.

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