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Marilee J. Layman

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11:20 pm: The Obesity Myth by Paul Campos
I pointed out a Campos article to firecat who had already seen it and asked if I'd read this book. I hadn't, so I took it out of the library.

Subtitled Why America's Obssession with Weight is Hazardous to Your Health, the biggest revelation for me was that the Harvard study that all our BMI and health information has been based on for years doesn't actually say what was publicized. People at the "acceptable" BMI actually die of health issues earlier than either underweight folks or overweight folks. Then, there are diseases that fat protects people from.

The book is in three parts: 1. Fat Science, where he provides info on the current studies on fat and health -- showing that weight doesn't predict your health. 2. Fat Culture, where we see that the people who are at the heart of waging the war on fat are, wait, pharmaceutical companies and weight-loss companies. Science? Naw, money. 3. Fat Politics, where he shows how thin became good and fat became bad.

I would have prefered actual footnotes for the references to studies and papers. What he's done (and this does go with the popular science voice of the book) is to have a Notes section at the back of the book where each cite starts with a bolding of the particular sentence or phrase in the text and then has the reference.

I think this is a good book for everybody to read -- not just overweight people. Find out how money is pushing the fat-is-bad message.



[User Picture]
Date:October 4th, 2007 11:30 am (UTC)
The main problem I have with BMI is that it's so damn unforgiving. BMI is a lot stricter than the formula applied in Germany, which I grew up with, which means that you can be overweight in one country and clinically obese in another.

Also, I think weight suffers the same problem as binge drinking.

Being extremely obese is bad for you, as is drinking 23 pints in one night. Being somewhat overweight or drinking two pints a night is probably not fantastic for you, but there's a whole host of other factors you need to look at, too - a rugby player might be risking his health not because of his seventeen-stone weight, but because he's got other 17st guys jumping on him on a regular basis. Lumping both together seems to me to be sending the wrong message, and gives people no incentive to not pick up that third pint: because if you're dooomed anyway, you might as well enjoy it.

As a lymph edema sufferer I get furious at the assumption that I must be stuffing my face all day long to have reached my weight _anyway_, and I guess you're in a similar position: if it _was_ easy, and only needed a little willpower, then more people would lose weight.
[User Picture]
Date:October 4th, 2007 07:52 pm (UTC)
No, you should really read this book. Even people as fat as I am die less often from health issues than the "appropriate" BMI folks. It's all there in the Harvard data; the researchers, one of whom was being paid by a weight loss company, perverted the data in their study release.

And for me, I gained all this weight in the hospital, when I was being fed via N-G tube.
[User Picture]
Date:October 4th, 2007 08:40 pm (UTC)
I knew your weight it a side-effect of the stroke, I just wasn't aware of the exact mechanism, but I know it's neither voluntary nor easily shed.

Ok, I'll see how I can get my hands on this. For myself, I am happier, healthier, and all-round better off at a lower weight and have a very specific reason why I would like to shed some - unfortunately, I cannot get the therapy that might help, so I'm down to exercising and trying to get as fit as possible. Not much else I can do - I already eat healthily, I don't lose weight by exercising, and there's a limit to how much, respectively what type of exercise I can do.

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