Archive for the 'Studies' Category

25
Feb
08

Fat More Dangerous than Terrorism?

You know, I have to go back to my no-news ban. My psyche was happiest this way. Anyhow, as I clicked through my Yahoo! News today, I see an article that basically tells me that obesity is more dangerous that terrorism. What amazes me is that, well, we’ve talked about this already, but apparently the doctors and researchers wanted me to know and understand that the Threat of Fat is real, and as such, we’ve got to fight it.

I am trying my damnedest to understand this whole theory. Seriously. So, I’ll break down the newest article, and perhaps we’ll learn together.

First, let us look at the assertion:

“While we’ve been focusing so much attention on that, we’ve had this silent epidemic of obesity that’s killing millions of people around the world, and we’re devoting very little attention to it and a negligible amount of money.”

No attention? So, the diet industry hasn’t registered a blip on his radar? Silent? See comment about the diet industry. In other words we know full well about this supposed epidemic (which I thought didn’t even exist). I reckon plenty of money is being spent, both consumers and researchers alike, that let us know that the threat and shame of fat is alive and well.

An estimated 388 million people will die from chronic disease worldwide over the next 10 years, according to World Health Organisation figures quoted by the alliance.

“There’s a political paralysis in dealing with the issue,” said [Lawrence]Gostin, an adviser to the US government and a professor at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins universities.

He noted that prevention of obesity and its effects had hardly rated a mention in the current campaign for the US presidency.

It hasn’t? Did Meowser make up the quote out of thin air?Also, there are MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO FOCUS ON. We’re in a war, in case you’ve forgotten. How’s about we focus on getting our servicewomen and men back home? How’s about we focus on providing more jobs so this economy can do better? How’s about we focus on getting better healthcare for folks who can’t afford it? I’m not concerned with keeping costs low. I want folks to be able to just AFFORD IT. We have bigger things to worry about and fix than someone’s supposedly broken waistline.

Like terrorism, some passing health threats get major government attention and media coverage, while heart and lung disease, diabetes and cancer account for 60 percent of the world’s deaths, the meeting was told.

“It is true that new and re-emerging health threats such as SARS, avian flu, HIV/AIDS, terrorism, bioterrorism and climate change are dramatic and emotive,” said Stig Pramming, the Oxford group’s executive director.

“However, it is preventable chronic disease that will send health systems and economies to the wall.”

These “preventable chronic diseases” he speaks of are obesity and lung cancer and the like. Except non-smokers get lung cancer too. And folks can’t exactly explain why that is. Preventable, huh? You can reduce a risk factor, but reduction don’t equal prevention.

There was, however, a part I could actually get on board with:

“We need to build the physical activity back into our lives and it’s not simply about bike paths, it’s about developing an urban habitat that enables people to live healthy lives: ensuring that people can meet most of their daily needs within walking and cycling distance of where they live,” he said.

Thus said Professor Tony Capon. I’m ok with this, as well as the reducing carbon emissions and making fresh food more affordable. I will also note I’m mad I had to wait to the END of the article to find something of some use.

But you know, when it comes to obesity, when it comes to smoking (and other “lifestyle choices”), they have to put the hysterical before the common sense. I just wish folks focused on the common sense more.

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17
Jan
08

It’s Official: I’ve Heard Everything

Via JoGeek, I have now learned that driving while fat is on the same level of driving under the influence.

Folks, I don’t make up the news. I just report it.

So, researchers in Australia have found that folks with higher BMIs pose risks on the road, because with higher BMIs come a greater risk of lethargy.

Study supervisor Dr Sara Lal says driving with sleep apnoea is effectively the same as drink driving due its similar effect on brain activity.

Wait, so all fat people have sleep apnea now? I wasn’t aware, considering, I, you know, DON’T HAVE IT.

Ms Pe Benito said the results defied some of the conventional wisdom about the differences between young and more seasoned drivers.

“For young drivers we found that the strongest predictors of crashing were body mass index (BMI) and regular alcohol consumption – as distinct from driving under the influence of alcohol,” she said.

“Obesity is a significant risk factor shared with older drivers. High BMI goes hand-in-hand with increased levels of lethargy, the rapid onset of fatigue and slower reaction times.

Good Lord. Did I get Bingo yet? Oh, boy. So, essentially, my fat makes me lethargic, fatigued, and slow to respond. And all of that plus a car equals accident, y’all. But see, it was the last part of the second article that struck me.

“However, there was no significant difference in brain activity and mood between young and older drivers and no association found between mood and driving performance,” Ms Pe Benito said.

Now see, this statement in and of itself lets me know that the study is bunk. It’s either that, or the good folks Down Under don’t have a such thing as road rage. In just about every state I have lived in, I’ve heard reports of folks driving badly while angry. And I don’t mean just speeding. I mean speeding to pull up next to to the offending car to shout obscenities, throw objects, or in the most extreme cases, to shoot into the car. In all seriousness. There have been children murdered in road rage incidents. But there’s no significant difference in brain activity and mood?

Oh, and will this study provide a new police charge: DWF (that’s driving while fat, natch)? And is it considered a double offence if the person driving is both fat AND drunk? The mind boggles, y’all.

You know, I say this every time a “study” is released to the world: I want to know where the research money is coming from! I can discover foolishness too. I can! Just give me a reason, and where to look for it, and I PROMISE you I can deliver some grade A foolishness.

But you know…I don’t think my foolishness could ever top this one. At all.

11
Jan
08

I’m Shocked! No, Not Really.

Wow. Ok, so via the good folks at Yahoo! News (and the wonderful Kate), I have now learned that my fat is a lifestyle choice.

Yep. I’ve deliberately decided to be fat. I mean, I rolled over one morning, admired my size 4 curves in the mirror and thought….nah. I should TOTALLY gorge myself on the baby donuts I hear about and sit on my ass everyday until I hit the sizes 20-24 range.

What the FUCK, yo. We’re not gonna go into the whole “simple formula” to losing weight thing (burning more calories than what one takes in=thin) foolishness right now. Cause based on that I really WOULD be a size 4. What I want to focus on is the societal ramifications of being fat.

So, what this supposed expert is telling me is that I want to be ridiculed? That I ENJOY my family bestowing the wonderful “you’d be so beautiful if you’d just lose 10/50/100 pounds” phrase on me? That I love men “complimenting” me on my size because that means “you know how to cook! we see you ain’t missed a meal, so your man won’t either!” I’m deliberately choosing to elicit stares when I order food at a restaurant or at a food court in a mall? Seriously, though?

Or, even better, I’m ASKING for my treatment, because the expert says it’s a lifestyle choice. And with these choices come consequences, right? Have mercy.

Ok, I’ll leave that soapbox alone for the time being. Let’s get into what this health economist had to say.

“Obesity is a natural extension of an advancing economy. As you become a First World economy and you get all these labor-saving devices and low-cost, easily accessible foods, people are going to eat more and exercise less,” health economist Eric Finkelstein told AFP.

Hm. America is becoming a First World economy. Ok, so how does Mr. Finkelstien gather we’ve become this booming economy? By working, right? Now, if the poorer folks weren’t doing all this doggone working so that the economy could be boosted–and I’m not talkin’ regular 9-5 type work, I’m talkin’ 12-18 hours a DAY–while the richer folks continue to make money without consideration to their poorer workers, there wouldn’t be a NEED for labor saving devices and low-cost, easily accessible foods. Quite a few folks can’t afford rent or electricity and have to choose between feeding their kids and keeping a roof over their heads. And it seems to me that if with this advancing economy folks STILL have to live like that, we ain’t becoming a damn thing except a fancy Third World country. We just have a government that cares enough about its own image to try and do some things to help. But Welfare and Medicaid/care can’t do but so much. So, I’m gonna leap of the economy soapbox and continue with the health ramifications we fat folk have pounded in our head on a daily basis.

Naturally, with an article like this comes the OMGOBESITYEPIDEMIC!!!!1! assertion: when you get fat, you are susceptible to all kinds of diseases. Yes, folks, let us continue to beat this dead horse about how unhealthy fat is. But essentially, Mr. Finkelstein is saying that since medicine has improved so vastly, folks can choose to be obese. The repercussions aren’t that great anymore.

“When you have a first-rate medical system that can cure the diseases that obesity promotes, you no longer need to worry so much about being obese,” he told AFP.

“With our ever-advancing modern medicine there helping to save the day (at least for many people), are government and the media blowing the magnitude of the ‘obesity crisis’ out of proportion?” his book says….and draws the conclusion that “many individuals are making a conscious decision to engage in a lifestyle that is obesity-promoting.”

“People make choices, and some people will choose a weight that the public health community might be unhappy about. Why should we try to make them thinner?” Finkelstein said.

I was under the impression that there was no more obesity epidemic. Silly me. Anyhow, I reckon, as I have stated above, there are some pretty good reasons to worry about being obese. Not because fat is a bad thing that must be abolished (as every health expert/diet company/someone’s mother wants you to know) but because of the social stigma that is having wobbly bits. So, did the article find a regular person to say that no…fat really isn’t a choice? Of course! And they found a doctor, too! Here they are, in their own words:

Obesity is not a choice for Alley English, a 28-year-old mother from Missouri who has struggled with a weight problem all her life.

“If you knew that you could be what society considers normal, why would you not choose to do that?” English told AFP.

“As we get older, life does get more rushed and we do tend to make the easier choices sometimes,” English, who currently weighs 392 pounds (178 kilograms), told AFP.

“But you can’t say if you quit going to the drive-through, exercise more and eat more vegetables, you’ll lose weight. There are so many more factors involved.”

[Linda] Gotthelf also disagreed that people choose to be obese.

“There are studies in which people have said they would rather lose a limb or be blind than obese. Being obese is not a desire,” she said.

“For many, this is a problem they have struggled with for many years… it gets discouraging after a while,” she said.

“I would not doubt that if you asked obese people if they could push a button and not be obese, close to 100 percent would say they would push the button.”

Ok, y’all really didn’t have any hope for the doctor, huh? Me neither. I left out the other Sanity Watchers point eating statement she said before this one. You’re welcome. However, I have to differ about being “normal.” I’d never want to “push a button and no longer be obese.” I’d love to push a button and zap the bigots to another dimension. I’d love to push a button and end all the wars and conflict. But since I know my weight has nothing to do with my health, getting rid of it isn’t important. I’m all about my health. I want to be and feel strong. Be in shape. And “in shape” shouldn’t have jack shit to do with size, although unfortunately in this world it does. I’m just tired. Tired of folks assuming things about others’ lifestyles as if it’s their God given right to tell me how to live.

But, you know, I’m fat, and since it’s a choice, I TOTALLY asked for it.

06
Dec
07

Bread Has Been Blacklisted

It seems every other day we are inundated with new information about what we should or should not eat in order to stave off infection, disease, death, or obesity–and not all necessarily in that order. Usually on the good list: lots of leafy greens, berries, low fat dairy, and so on. Bad list? Eh. Just pick something that tastes good. That should about cover it. 😀 At any rate, via Junkfood Science, I have now learned of another food that threatens to cause the fat to spout mercilessly upon our thighs:

Bread. And not just any bread, folks….thick cut bread.

Go ahead and giggle. I did. And alternately, I thought…mmmmm. Thick-cut bread. *Homer Simpson gargle* Now, as this article addresses thick-cut bread in the UK, I’m unfamiliar of what it’s called there. Here in the states, I think of it as Texas Toast. You know, the extra-thick slices of bread that’s crunchy on the outside but deliciously soft within? Oh, yeah. Damn ambrosia, this stuff’s the food of the gods!

Ahem.

Anyhow, I’m just wondering…haven’t folks already vilified the white bread? Or, y’know, any kind of bread, pasta, delicious starchy thing—you get the idea—already? The whole Atkins thing that folks can’t figure out if it’s even healthy or not? Yeah, that. The article pretty much says that if the bread is cut in thinner slices…folks will lose weight!

Word? Ok, y’all, let’s think about this for a second. If I buy or make a sandwich, and I’m used to it on thick bread, making it thinner is only gonna do one of two things (or perhaps both, on a bad day). It will either piss me off, or cause me to make another sandwich so I can get the amount of bread I want. In addition, how in the world will changing bread thickness do a damn thing to the now debunked obesity epidemic? I’m just wondering. Apparently, so are the English:

Fellow University of Bolton student Mary Hulme, aged 23, of Tonge Moor, said: “Can those in Westminster not actually put in place real policies to help? I have always eaten thick bread and it has done me no harm…”It is ridiculous that thick bread has been mentioned. Are we to be told not to use butter and jam too?”

Man, oh man. You see, part of the reason that folks have such issues with food is because experts always want to put a label on it. It’s either good or bad, and if you just HAVE to eat the “bad” foods, you must eat it in moderation. Because, otherwise, you’re gonna catch the fat, and that ain’t good. Seems to me any food is worth eating in moderation…because it should really be about eating what one enjoys as opposed to what is deemed the “correct” food. And when you get to slapping labels on stuff…food gets to be a lot less enjoyable. It just becomes mechanized and cold…something not to be savored, but only as inconsequential and bland as the fuel we put in our cars. And as a budding foodie (call me the FluffyGourmet!) that prospect is both boring and damned depressing.

And if it is as depressing to you as it is to me, then you do have another option in the War on Fat *derisive snicker*. Log off of MySpace. That should do the trick.

29
Nov
07

This Just In: There is no Obesity Epidemic!

Addendum: I just had to share this with y’all:When I informed BuddingStarlet that there was no longer an Obesity Epidemic, she said: “What! No more epidemic?! We should have a funeral and bury it. I mean…if we are, we should wear black. It makes you look slimmer, dont’cha know.” Heh. I should probably find some better friends. 😀

You’ve been hoodwinked. Bamboozled. Suffice it to say you’ve been slightly misinformed. All of this anti-fat rhetoric and research has come to this:

About 33 percent of men and 35 percent of women were obese. The new rates were slightly higher than the 31 percent and 33 percent reported in 2003-2004 surveys.

However, in generalizing the results to the U.S. population, researchers calculated a margin of error that swallows up the differences between years. In other words, the increases were not considered statistically significant.

Mhm. So…this whole “obesity epidemic” thing? Yeah, not existent. What’s that? You say, of COURSE it’s an epidemic! I see fat people everyday! Ladies and gents, allow me to introduce you to the word “epidemic,” courtesy of Merriam-Webster Online:

Main Entry: epidemic
Function: noun
Date: 1757
1 : an outbreak of epidemic disease
2 : an outbreak or product of sudden rapid spread, growth, or development

Emphasis mine. Now see, folks have been saying for quite some time now that there is no such animal as the Obesity Epidemic. And now, from the CDC themselves (ok, perhaps in not so many words, but y’know governmental folks have to skate around the truth) we see…no significant changes in the levels of obesity. So in other words…we folk in the Fat Acceptance movement were right. We were right to question these so called numbers; right to call shenanigans on the “ever-rising level” of obesity in the States. Because THERE IS NO EVER RISING LEVEL. I mean, it’s not as if folks are leaving home thin, going into convulsions, and dropping to the ground…only to arise much plumper than they used to be. I mean, it’s not like if I sneeze on you, you’re gonna immediately become chubby, right? Oh, right. Well, apparently, it ain’t always catching (perhaps there’s an immunity as yet undiscovered?), because if it’s gonna be called an epidemic, it should be spreading like wildfire. However, that’s just not the case.

But, as always, there can be no dancing in the streets, kids. Because just like when we found out being overweight wasn’t a death sentence, but it STILL IS UNHEALTHYOMG!!!!, we have been warned:

The rates are still too high, said Mark Swanson, a researcher who studies childhood obesity and school nutrition at the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health.

“Until the numbers start to go the other direction, I don’t think we can consider this a success at all,” he said.

Well. It took these folks a while to admit there was no epidemic. Perhaps it will take a while longer for them to admit they don’t have a magic elixir (drug or otherwise) that’s gonna make folks thin and KEEP them thin. These here bureaucratic folks just don’t like to admit defeat. That’s ok. There were some of us who knew the truth before they, um, discovered and confirmed (*snort*) it, and we’ll continue to know the truth until they opt to discover and confirm what we know to be true yet again.

08
Nov
07

“We, The Jury, Cannot Reach A Decision…”

Now, last week, I was told that the fat causes cancer and will kill me. This week, I found out that hey…the fat ain’t so bad and can actually be beneficial! I was elated that science finally caught up with the rest of us. I also found myself explaining this revelation to BuddingStarlet, who emailed me as soon as she found out the news:

BuddingStarlet: “Hey, I just read about this new study on CNN. Does this mean I’m not gonna die from the fat?”

Me: “Well, according to the article I read, up to 25 lbs extra cushion can be beneficial. But this info only refers to those who are considered overweight by BMI standards, like you are, for example. I’m considered morbidly obese, so this news ain’t for me.”

Her: “But I don’t get it. Am I gonna die or not?”

And this is the issue folks in the medical community are obsessing over right now. Just like BuddingStarlet still wasn’t sure if she was gonna die tomorrow from the fat (well, this article, released today, says no, she won’t, but she still ain’t healthy), the medical community doesn’t know what to do with the idea that fat doesn’t automatically equal death. I mean, why can’t these OMGOBESITYEPIDEMIC folks let us have one study(never mind there are many more) that means we can come out from hiding because the nation makes us ashamed of our fat? I mean, even though it has been documented countless times that weight is not an indicator of health, it amazes me that these doctors go…”Ok, ok fine, no, the fat won’t kill you….BUT! You are STILL UNHEALTHY! Go lose weight!” This continual influx of information on the world is going to lead to what BuddingStarlet is experiencing now: confusion.

I’m aware that medicine isn’t an exact science. I don’t expect doctors and researchers and the like to be perfect in their findings; that there is a definite black and white explanation of things. What I DO expect is that these doctors and researchers take the time to decrease the amount of gray area generated by these conflicting reports as opposed to arguing one way or another.

Now, I know there are folks reading now that want to know how I personally feel about the situation. I, of course, think that the extra pounds study is indeed true, and I also believe that overweight does not equal unhealthy. I get my idea not just from my personal experience as a fat woman, but from countless researchers that actually took the time to investigate fat and health, and realized that yes, kids, the two can coincide with each other, as opposed to the whole fat=unhealthy mantra that the diet industry, among others, has continually shoved down our throats. Because, as we all know, not all fat people are unhealthy, just as all thin people are not healthy, and vice versa. No one assumption can be made for all people, and the moment these doctors and researchers stop stigmatizing fat as deadly and thin as ideal and begin advocating HEALTH–MINUS the label of weight–we will see a dramatic change in how patients are treated in today’s health-care system.

Or at least it would in an ideal world.

01
Nov
07

This Just In: Living (and being fat) Gives You Cancer!

Oh, boy. Now, this topic is already being slammed over at Kate’s, but since I didn’t want to be snarky (-er?) all up in her comments section, I figured I’d bring my snark over to my own house.

Now, along with everything else that gives you cancer (breathing, eating, walking, LIVING even, dammit) teh fat is gonna give you the cancer too.

What cancer? Welp…they run the gamut:

The analysis of the studies found a definite link between excess fat and cancers of the esophagus, pancreas, colon and rectum, endometrium, kidney as well as breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

Now, what disturbs me is that the risk from extra weight starts at birth. Word? Now, I was a big baby. I mean, big as in I couldn’t wear newborn clothes big. So, I came into the world with the “cancer” label hanging over my head. Well. That’s just damned depressing.

However, the biggest push (from both the MSN article I read and the actual list of preventive measures) is that you must be thin to reduce the risk. Eat a balanced diet! No red meat or processed foods! No dietary supplements! (ok, that one got a big “what the fuck” from me. what if you’re anemic?) Everything we do in life, it seems, has to do with what we put in our mouths. Well, except for the tall people. They can’t get less tall, you see, and according to the article:

In addition, tall people seem to have a higher risk of colorectal and postmenopausal breast cancer, according to the report.
“We found that tallness is also probably linked to increased risk for ovarian, pancreatic and premenopausal cancer as well,” Willett said. Although the association between height and cancer is convincing, tall people are not destined to get cancer, he added.

Uh huh. Well, it’s good to know the tall people ain’t doomed. However, it’s pretty clear that most of the fat folks are. And, I wonder, what of the tall AND fat folks? Does the same logic work for them? Of course not. Because they’re FAT and the OMGOBEISITYEPIDEMIC must be curbed by any means!

Now, I reckon I can appreciate (ugh) the latest cancer statistics, but I’m just wondering, did anyone catch this study over at Junkfood Science? No? Well, let me give you the bottom line of it:

There were no significant differences in the incidences of breast cancer, colon cancer, heart attacks or strokes, or weight changes, among those who ate a restrictive “healthy” diet and the control group (29,294 women) who ate whatever they pleased.

Well. I’m sure y’all are wondering why the hell THIS study didn’t make national headlines. Simple. The diet companies need more money, and hell, THIS revelation ain’t gonna get them anymore clients. Remember, we have an obesity epidemic. We have to fix folks’ fat!

*disgusted eye roll* Yeah. Whatever.




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