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05 Nov

Six questions about obesity :

A University of York, Canada, study of over 54,000 men and women reported by conscienhealth recently came up with an interesting premise:

“A BMI of 30 or more defines obesity. But you can have a BMI over 30 and be perfectly healthy. So obesity is not a medical problem.”

Or, put another way:

“Obesity alone does not increase risk of death.”

Not that it’s a new idea but we may not all have come across it.

So let’s start on the questions.

1.    What is obesity?

  • overweight is a BMI greater than or equal to 25; and
  • obesity is a BMI greater than or equal to 30.

2.    How useful is the BMI (body mass index) to define obesity?

The World Obesity Federation, amongst others, is clear that, it should only “be considered a rough guide for predicting risk in individuals”, and is “most useful on a population, not an individual basis.”

3.    Does the study’s conclusion help us?

Well, it enables us to fool ourselves for a little longer that obesity is not really a problem. When those subject to it and public health policy wonks know it is.

The argument is that hypertension or diabetes alone pose a high mortality risk, whereas obesity alone doesn’t.

On the other hand, an entirely opposite finding was tentatively concluded by a study recently reported in The Lancet. The 30 year follow-up study of over 90,000 women reported a likely association between obesity and cardiovascular disease risk.

4.    Who’s right?

It’s unlikely there would be so many public health initiatives to tackle obesity if clinicians felt it posed no health risk.

The World Health Organisation gives us the stark facts:

  • “Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.
  • In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.
  • 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.
  • Most of the world's population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
  • 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2016.
  • Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.
  • Obesity is preventable.”

5.    So, what should we do?

Again, the World Health Organisation is clear. Eat less, move more.

“The fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended. Globally, there has been:

  • an increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat; and
  • an increase in physical inactivity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization.”

And the final question.

6.    What are you waiting for?

Come and join us fight the flab together. You’ve got the questions. We’ve got the answers, and, best of all, we're here to help you lose your weight your way.

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