Weight and Mortality: Epidemiology Question | INFJ Forum

Weight and Mortality: Epidemiology Question

Discussion in 'Health and Wellness' started by Quinlan, Sep 3, 2010.

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  1. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    So I was reading about a study from a few years back which found that the overweight bmi range had the lowest mortality (and moderate obesity on par with the normal range). When this study came out there was a bit of an uproar and some folks from Harvard came out and said that they didn't control for smoking (they had and the results were the same).

    Smoking makes you thin and it kills you.

    Eating junk food makes you fat and it kills you.

    Not exercising makes you fat and it kills you.

    So my question is, what's the difference between these variables? why control for one unhealthy behaviour and not the other?
     
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  2. DoveAlexa

    DoveAlexa Chaz's Lovey Bunny
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    "the overweight bmi range had the lowest mortality" (you)
    "Overweight was not associated with excess mortality"(out of the study)
    When I read that my mind was so blown that I really can't even think up any decent answers to your posed questions. o_O.

    I'm just struggling right now with what these two statement mean, because it pretty much debunks all schools of thought that say being even a teeny tiny bit overweight seriously negatively effects your health and lifespan. This is like a grand middle finger to them all!
    Make me also think that this is the way the human body wants to be, healthy with a little excess stored fat just in case. ^^.

    In order to unwrap my brain from the subject, to you tell me what else you learned about this topic? //SUPER SUPER INTERESTED!
     
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  3. the

    the Si master race.
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    found that the overweight bmi range had the lowest mortality


    So being fat makes you live?
     
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  4. DoveAlexa

    DoveAlexa Chaz's Lovey Bunny
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    The overweight BMI range is not that fat, though. It starts at the high end of normal, maybe a woman's size 10 (about a waist of 29") and the official range ends not far after that. Seems like a range of about 30 pounds. Hardly debilitating.
    Also, we store fat on our bodies for a reason. Now a days its thought that it's totally unnecessary, but maybe it's like our appendix and will be found to be useful to our overall health.
     
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  5. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    i read somewhere being slightly overweight is healthier than being slightly underweight in terms of immune function.
     
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  6. deadred

    deadred Community Member

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    You just can't forget about genetics. Science and medicine are two of my top strengths, and I've studied desease for a long time, in medical journals, via working closer to the surgeon than anyone else in the room for over two decades, I understand the desease process, and can talk to any Doc of any kind in the country and have a nice technical conversation. Genetics is the key. You want to know your risk factors and deal with them appropriately, but here is where you find the caveats. If you have the right genes you can have several risk factors, but they don't affect you much. Also, if you have the wrong genes, you might die as fast or faster from next to no risk factors. Study your family tree! Find how long back into your family tree you can go and see how long your relatives lived, and what diseases they suffered from. Those are what would show up in you possibily now with greater tendancy of expression, depending on the past (what your relatives suffered). That's the biggest indicator.
     
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  7. OP
    Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    I have a whole blog about it here:

    http://forums.infjs.com/showthread.php?t=8671

    Will get back to this thread on monday!
     
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  8. 88chaz88

    88chaz88 Back for a limited time only
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    Surely this has something to do with more fat people coming from western society and therefore receiving better healthcare?

    Also whenever I see anyone who's lived to 100 or more they're never overweight.
     
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  9. DoveAlexa

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    Oh my! I'll have to get to reading that. Maybe later though, I'm doing belongings-attrition right now.
    And I'm too tired :(.
     
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  10. OP
    Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    These guys are pretty close:

    Mickey Rooney age 90

    [​IMG]

    Ernest Borgnine age 93

    [​IMG]
     
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    #10 Quinlan, Sep 4, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2010
  11. OP
    Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    That study was from the US population.
     
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    Who live less long than European population... I see the problem here.

    US diets are bad, regardless of what weight you are. You can be as thin as a rake and still eat MacDonalds every day. Perhaps eating more will give you a better supply of what poor nourishment is in these things.

    But yeah, eating healthily will make you live longer.
     
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  13. magister343

    magister343 Permanent Fixture

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    This reminded me of a study that found that heavy drinkers were far more likely to exercise. Perhaps these thin and fit people have serious liver damage, in addition to tobacco-ruined lungs.
     
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  14. OP
    Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    In some circumstances it can, any illness that causes wasting (tuberculosis/aids etc.) will likely be less lethal for a fat person, the fat works as a kind of buffer that the body can use for energy during illness.

    There is a well known statistical occurence called the "obesity paradox", where the fatter people are the better there outcomes are when it comes to certain illness. So thin people might be less likely to get heart disease but if they do happen to get it, it seems to be more lethal.

    If you consider the fat stores as a kind of buffer that gets used up when faced with serious illness, by the time someone gets to 100 they may have used up all their fat stores getting there.

    So if you're right and eating habits are so poor right across the board in America, isn't a public health focus on just obese people going to be counter productive? Might these statistics be a sign themselves that because of the obsession with fat people thin people are being left behind, forgotten and their health problems ignored because "everyone knows thin is healthy"?
     
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  15. magister343

    magister343 Permanent Fixture

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    If I recall correctly, the biggest difference between American and European longevity is that Americans are much more likely to be killed by automobile accidents or by guns than Europeans are, since we have so many more cars, roads, and guns. That makes using longevity to compare the health of the populations much less useful.



    Of course, studies also show that across essentially all species a near starvation diet accompanied by very little physical activity leads to a significant increase in longevity. In my health class freshman year of college it was taught that the most popular theory explaining this empirical fact is that a near starvation diet causes one's metabolism to drop significantly, which in turn dramatically reduced the levels of free radicals which the mitochondria produce as byproducts. Aging is caused in large part by damage done by these free radicals, and so is slowed when the production of free radicals is slowed. Someone with a very low metabolism can have almost all their free radicals destroyed by a moderate intake of antioxidants, whereas the doses required for those of high metabolisms to rid themselves of free radicals are very high and in some cases even dangerous.

    Now that I think of it, this metabolism theory could explain why fat people might tend to live longer. Many of these people are not fat because they consume much more than thin people, but because they have naturally slower metabolisms, keeping them relatively safe from free radicals even without going down to a 900 calorie a day diet.
     
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