Obesity

Obesity Researchers Outraged by Inconvenient Truth About Weight and Mortality

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Southern Comfort

Since 2005, when Katherine Flegal of the National Center for Health Statistics began reporting that people whom the government deems "overweight" appear to be healthier than people who stay within the recommended weight range, her work has provoked outrage from other obesity researchers. As Virginia Hughes explains in a recent Nature feature story, the critics' main complaint is not that Flegal's findings are wrong but that they are unhelpful. Hughes describes the reaction to a meta-analysis of 97 studies that Flegal and her colleagues published last January in The Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that mortality rates were lowest among people considered overweight but not obese:

The result seemed to counter decades of advice to avoid even modest weight gain, provoking coverage in most major news outlets—and a hostile backlash from some public-health experts. "This study is really a pile of rubbish, and no one should waste their time reading it," said Walter Willett, a leading nutrition and epidemiology researcher at the Harvard school, in a radio interview. Willett later organized the Harvard symposium—where speakers lined up to critique Flegal's study—to counteract that coverage and highlight what he and his colleagues saw as problems with the paper….

Studies such as Flegal's are dangerous, Willett says, because they could confuse the public and doctors, and undermine public policies to curb rising obesity rates. "There is going to be some percentage of physicians who will not counsel an overweight patient because of this," he says. Worse, he says, these findings can be hijacked by powerful special-interest groups, such as the soft-drink and food lobbies, to influence policy-makers.

Other researchers take a less result-oriented approach:

Many scientists say that they are uncomfortable with the idea of hiding or dismissing data—especially findings that have been replicated in many studies—for the sake of a simpler message. "One study may not necessarily tell you the truth, but a bulk of studies saying the same thing and being consistent, that really is reinforcing," says Samuel Klein, a physician and obesity expert at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri. "We need to follow the data just like the yellow brick road, to the truth."…

[Flegal] says that the public's reaction to her results is not her primary concern. "I work for a federal statistical agency," she says. "Our job is not to make policy, it's to provide accurate information to guide policy-makers and other people who are interested in these topics." Her data, she says, are "not intended to have a message."

An editorial in the same issue of Nature questions Willett's intemperate criticism of Flegal as well as his preference for clear messages even when muddier ones are closer to the truth: 

It is easy to see why those who spend their lives trying to promote the health of others gnash their teeth when they see complex findings whittled down to a sharp point and used to puncture their message. It is more difficult, from a scientific perspective, to agree that these findings should not be published and discussed openly, warts and all, purely because they blend uncertainty into a simple mantra. Make things as simple as possible, Einstein said, but no simpler. And simple, black-and-white messages can cause confusion of their own. All things in moderation—and that should include the language we use.

[via Trevor Butterworth at Forbes

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  1. How much of this discrepancy is due to the government measure for obesity still using outdated measures that don’t account for healthy muscle mass of adult males? There is a difference between 250 pounds piled on through eating meat and exercising, and the 250 pounds of a fatass who sits in front of a TV all day.

    1. These studies have been around a while. Yeah, even a skinny couch potato is going to have worse health than someone who is a bit over weight but is active.

    2. My docotor told me that according to the BMI ratings for males, her father, a marathon runner, was considered obese. So was I despite the fact that most of my weight is heavy bone and muscle. Go figure.

      1. Back in the glory days when I would routinely score a 270 or better on the Army PT test, meaning I could do around 70 pushups and 75 situps in two minutes and then run two miles in around 14:30, my BMI always listed me as obese.

        Now I was hardly a PT God and hardly thin by Army standards. But obese? Really?

        1. I am still running 5K and going to the gym practically every day. And I can pop off 50+ push ups and 70 sit ups in under a minute and am close to 50 years old. Don’t have a washboard stomach anymore, but at 205 lbs and 5-11 I am in real good shape. I miss good old PT.. Just kidding.

          1. I am going to get back there. I am 5’11.5 and 205 is a good weight for me. I am getting there. But don’t tell the BMI people that.

            1. Heh John, I am actually 5’11.5 myself, lost a half inch there in the last decade or so, but didn’t feel that level of precision was needed unless I was showing my inner geek again.

              That my BMI numbers put me at obese is freaky. I would have to be a beanpole to get close. Notice I said close, not there. Broke a lot of bones doing crazy shit – my doctor still jokes that she has never seen a medical file like mine – and I have a lot more mass because of all that extra bone structure.

              Spend my youth well, I guess.

              1. Some day you are going to be old and not be able to do anything. You might as well do while you can.

          2. I am still running 5K and going to the gym practically every day. And I can pop off 50+ push ups and 70 sit ups in under a minute

            Reading that winded me.

      2. BMI is generally bullshit anyway. A real fat percentage test is a better indicator.

        1. I remember reading that BMI was created to do statistical analysis and that it was worthless when applied to an individual.

          But give people an easy number to calculate and it becomes a key metric.

          1. Well, the BMI also conveniently gave researchers and the government the ability to overnight classify millions and millions of people as “obese” or “overweight”. Considering that health care now means “control” because it’s more and more government controlled, making people “unhealthy” is mighty convenient, isn’t it? I mean, if BMI had classified most people as “normal”, do you think there is any way in hell it would have been adopted?

            1. Hell no. Also if everyone is “normal” it is pretty hard to get any money to work on the problem of obesity isn’t it?

            2. http://ndt.oxfordjournals.org/content/23/1/47.long

              The quest for a practical index of relative body weight that began shortly after actuaries reported the increased mortality of their overweight policyholders culminated after World War II, when the relationship between weight and cardiovascular disease became the subject of epidemiological studies. It became evident then that the best index was the ratio of the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters, or the Quetelet Index described in 1832. Adolphe Quetelet (1796?1874) was a Belgian mathematician, astronomer and statistician, who developed a passionate interest in probability calculus that he applied to study human physical characteristics and social aptitudes. His pioneering cross-sectional studies of human growth led him to conclude that other than the spurts of growth after birth and during puberty, ‘the weight increases as the square of the height’, known as the Quetelet Index until it was termed the Body Mass Index in 1972 by Ancel Keys (1904?2004).

              The nanny state is relatively new. The BMI is not.

          2. BMI is actually a pretty good rough metric. The “experts” just set the scale wrong — “overweight” is healthier than “normal”, which pretty much every sane person already knew. You don’t want to be 5-11 and 155.

            1. What about 5’11” and 130?

            2. I’m 5-11 and 145. I guess we’ll see if that is “too thin” as time goes on.

            3. Chris Sale laughs at you.

          3. You can’t spell statistical without STATIST.

        2. Oh, I remember when my high school made us all take a bullshit health class in sophomore year.

          We all had to find our BMI for it. So our clueless phys ed teacher splits us into boys and girls, and has us all stand in a line to take our height and weight measurements. And he calls it out in front of everyone.

          Boys being boys, none of us really cared that he did that.

          But then he started doing the girls.

          All but one were considered obese. The one exception had the body of a prepubescent 10 year old boy. Queue the sadness as after class they all panic about their weight.

          Eventually, I had to bring up the history of BMI and it’s flaws in our next class (we were in the International Baccalaureate program, so the class of 30 or so all had the same classes) to keep the despair down to a minimum.

          My significant other at the time went into full-on “fat girl” mode ass her mind regressed back into a junior high mentality. It took months to undo the damage of that BMI test, of which I’m 99% sure registered her as obese because of her breast size.

          That or the teacher was unable to do math properly, which is a likely scenario.

    3. BMI is an idiotic standard. I am very short for a male, but I’m also incredibly stocky. So much so, that my friends compare me to tolkienesque dwarves. My shoulders are about as wide as someone 6-8 inches taller than me. I am a little soft, but I’m certainly not obese. But the BMI scale puts me firmly into the obese category. In order to be in the normal BMI range for my height, I’d have to lose 35 lbs. I’d be skin and bones.

      Also, being “obese” doesn’t seem to have affected my health. I have perfect blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.

      1. It is a great standard if you are naturally tall and thin. But if you are short or like I am just have really big shoulders and torso, it is completely idiotic.

        1. Who cares about you peasants with your peasant builds anyhow?

        2. That’s me in a nutshell. Very short and broad as I am tall, I wear a 42 short suit jacket. On more than one occasion, I’ve had people at the tux shop call bullshit and then measure me with a shocked look on their face.

          42″ is pretty average if you’re close to 6ft. I’m much much closer to 5ft.

          1. I am a taller version of you. My mother’s side of the family are all six foot three or better. My dad’s side is like five 8. So I got the legs of a five eight person and the upper body of a six foot three person.

            1. Ha, it sounds like we could be related. Yeah, I’m all leg, too. My hips are about level with my friend who’s 5’9″, but he is almost half a foot taller than me. When I sit next to someone who’s average proportions and 5’9″, they could use my head as an armrest.

      2. I was trying to explain how ridiculous the BMI scale is to my mom and pointed out that I’d have to be 60-70 pounds lighter to be in the “normal” range. I’m currently 5’9, 215. I’d look better at 195, and 185 would be ideal, anything below that and I start looking gaunt with sunken eyes (I dipped into the 160s in HS a few times). Weighing 145-155, I’d look like I had a wasting illness.

    4. How much of this discrepancy is due to the government measure for obesity still using outdated measures that don’t account for healthy muscle mass of adult males?

      Mostly it’s from the fact that weight isn’t what causes the health problems. Fat accumulation is just the most obvious symptom of what is causing it. If it’s simple overeating, simply eating normal amount would fix it, yet it rarely does.

  2. How elitist of you, Walter Willett. “Oh, the stupid fat people won’t listen to us if the facts are inconvenient.”

    1. Typical proggy elitism at work. “The dumb savages of X group need our superior insight, no matter the facts!”

      1. People need clear and simple guidance from the betters Kristen.

        1. Or a “food pyramid” of some sort, with the categories weighted by political contributions of each industry.

          1. you’d think the sugar and oil industries would have enough money to be better represented.

            1. They got outbid by the corn industry.

      2. But false consciousness, and corporate exploitation by advertising and food deserts! These lard asses are the victims of capitalism that we need to save!

  3. But, but, but… Consensus!

    1. That’s just false consensusness.

  4. And I love that SOCO commercial.

    1. I was going to ask where that image came from. Is the commercial circa… 80’s?

      1. No. It is from a Southern Comfort Commercial made just this last winter. It shows this guy walking on the beech to an old Odetta song called “Hit or Miss” the chorus of which is this very 70s kind of funky sounding “I gotta be me”. It is just great.

        1. I love that guy. Speedo, a little too thick around the middle, yet utterly confident. Yeah, baby.

        2. This is what you get when you Tivo everything and fast-forward through commercials. That is a fun ad.

          1. I do the same. But if the ad is cool, like this one or the AT&T ads with the kids I will stop. Also, I watch just enough live sports to see most of the ads out there to know if they are cool or not.

        1. Man, the Instagram aesthetic is doing something horrible to the general rule of “everyone in Europe looks 20 years behind.”

          1. And that was a rule I relied upon for so long. “Oh look, those must be German tourists, because their jeans are completely goofy and out of style”. It can’t be ruined! I need it!

            1. Exactly. Plus it’s making us look like the retards.

              1. Speak for yourself, nicole.

      2. Ha, I just assumed it was Europe. Didn’t notice the credit.

  5. Studies such as Flegal’s are dangerous, Willett says, because they could confuse the public and doctors, and undermine public policies to curb rising obesity rates. “There is going to be some percentage of physicians who will not counsel an overweight patient because of this,” he says. Worse, he says, these findings can be hijacked by powerful special-interest groups, such as the soft-drink and food lobbies, to influence policy-makers.

    “You can’t take the truth!”

    1. How is that different from “look Judy, if you don’t forgive Johnny for sleeping with Beth and start sleeping with him again, the football team is going to lose”? Or “sure he killed the guy, but if it gets out think of the damage to the greater political cause? What is the life of one boy compared to that?”

      Once you go down the road of lying for the greater cause, there is no end to it.

      1. shorter version:

        Fuck Utilitarianism.

        1. Utilitarianism is just a fancy word for rationalizing.

    2. Those evil soda and fast food companies, forcing their poison onto unsuspecting victims!

      Something must be done!

    3. I think it’s “you can’t handle the truth!”

      And “facts are stubborn things.”

      1. ‘You can’t handle the [quotes]!!!”

        Turn in your card.

  6. Even worse is Willett’s hypocrisy in this matter. His study linking aspertame to cancer was so shoddy it was rejected for publication by several journals until it appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A publication of which, Willett is an editor.

    1. Amazing how people don’t just become depraved.

  7. Note how this parallels exactly the climate change bullshit. This is the politicization of science. The “truth” is decided upon politically, and then that message is pushed by the majority of scientists, especially because the government funding is political and they want to tap into that. Any dissenting messages must be squashed.

    1. Yup. And then scientists wonder why people don’t believe them and they can’t squash really dangerous fake science ideas like vaccines cause Autism. Their willingness to lie in other areas for political causes couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it. No.

      1. Actually, I don’t think the people who buy into pseudoscience are significantly driven to it by the knowledge that scientists have largely turned a blind eye to lies in the past.

        Rather the pseudoscience is so beautiful and obviously true that the people buying into it feel it must be the way things are and then then start casting about for justification afterwards.

        1. True. That is how it starts. But politicizing science in other areas will make it quickly impossible to fight these ideas. I mean if scientists will sell out for one thing, why is it so hard to believe they won’t for another?

    2. Probably my favorite aspect of progressive double think is the fact that should one single petro dollar find its way into a study, that study’s findings are horribly tainted and untrustworthy, but when a study is totally funded by the government and finds that the government is totally awesome, there is nothing suspicious going on.

      1. Government is the biggest monopolistic corporation of all. Yet they love it. Sometimes their stupidity is breathtaking.

  8. The guy pictured is hardly obese. In fact, I could see a lot of women being attracted to him. He’s tanned and he is not afraid of form fitting trunks showcasing his package.

    1. But he has a gut. I guarantee he is “overweight” by BMI standards.

      1. Yes, he does have a gut but it is not hideously way out of proportion to the rest of his build.

        His gut is not like the gut that Chris Farley sported (God rest his soul that funny bastard).

        Hell, tell me Vince Wilfork’s gut is not way bigger than this guy’s belly.

        1. Yeah, he isn’t so big as to be unattractive. I could see a woman thinking that he’s a good looking guy, whereas Chris Farley pretty much only got laid because he was famous.

          That’s probably the size of person that is considered ‘overweight’ but who is still healthy.

          In other words, the sort of person Willett wants us to ignore because he doesn’t fit the narrative.

          1. That’s probably the size of person that is considered ‘overweight’ but who is still healthy.

            In other words, the sort of person Willett wants us to ignore because he doesn’t fit the narrative.

            This.

          2. Chris Farley pretty much only got laid because he was famous.

            But the Chipendales skit with Patrick Swayze is one of my top 5 all-time SNL skits.

            1. Yeah, the guy was hilarious. I just don’t think that if Chris Farley walked into a bar and people didn’t know who he was he’d have much of a chance with women.

              I also heard that he was surprisingly shy in real life, and didn’t really become fun and gregarious until you put him in front of a camera. A shy fat guy doesn’t have much of a chance unless he’s famous or rich.

              1. I also heard that he was surprisingly shy in real life, and didn’t really become fun and gregarious until you put him in front of a camera.

                Or put a shitload of cocaine up his nose.

            2. What about his sense of humor?

      2. Actually I wouldn’t be surprised if his BMI is right around 30. 30 or higher is considered “obese.” I have somewhat similar build to that guy actually, and my BMI 31.

    2. He also likes Southern Comfort.

    3. Correct assessment, Libertymike. I actually think the 60’s style swimtrunks should come back in style. Those baggy messes called boardshorts, hanging halfway down to dudes’ ankles, look absurd.

      Also, a little belly is a totally acceptable tradeoff for a non-skinny dude. “Frail” is a pretty tough thing to find attractive in men. (NTTAWWT! YMMV! SLD!)

      1. “Frail” is a pretty tough thing to find attractive in men. (NTTAWWT! YMMV! SLD!)

        Look at this fucking nonhipster.

      2. Banana hammock. Plum smugglers. Fancy nuthuggers.

        1. There’s always money in… plum smuggling. And nuthugging. You should know that better than anyone, Sug.

      3. Stop objectifying men, you fucking matriarch.

        1. Actually, of all the posters here, for some reason, I picture Tony looking like this guy.

          1. Really? I picture Tony being a skinny wimp who hates himself and projects his self-loathing onto the rest of the world.

            That guy is way too cool to be Tony.

            1. I agree. I see Tony as a complete emo.

            2. I never, ever pictured Tony as a bear.

            3. Sockpuppets aren’t real, so they don’t look like anything.

      4. Hey, skinny doesn’t mean frail. I’m about the skinniest person you’ll meet, but I’m bloody rugged.

    4. The message of that commercial is that self-confidence and being comfortable with who you are is the most important thing.

      1. You’d have to be to be seen drinking that nasty shit.

        1. Chill it and take it in a shot.

          1. The stuff is so sweet it’s just vile. Disgusting. Pass me the Rumple Minze. There’s a manly drink.

            1. It is not my favorite. But I can drink it sometimes. I just love how no one knows what the fuck it is. It is not Bourbon. It is not whiskey. It is Southern mystery booze.

              1. You missed my joke. Rumple Minze is terribly sweet.

                1. Yeah. I think I threw up on that once in college.

              2. It’s peach liqueur. I think based on whiskey of some sort.

                Getting drunk on sugary shit is a bad idea.

        2. What’s your opinion on Fireball, the cinnamon whiskey?

          1. I could see that working. I haven’t tried it. But peppermint schnapps has always been good stuff. Why not cinnamon whiskey? I bet it is a good mixer. Put it in coffee or hot chocolate. Instead of a brown mule, call it a red jackass.

          2. All that sweet and flavored shit is disgusting. Just vile. Just give me a good gin martini.

            1. All that sweet and flavored shit is disgusting. Just vile. Just give me a good gin martini.

              You know what’s good is this bastardized version of the Rusty Nail that I came up with. Instead of the 50/50 mix of Drambuie and scotch, I float a little bit of the sweet stuff on the Johnny Walker. Just enough sweet to cut into the bite of the scotch. Though I’m not sure I’d even like it now. That was close to fifteen years ago and I’m sure my tastes have changed.

              1. Try what I like to call a Louisville Jackass. Take the recipe for a Moscow Mule and replace the vodka with a good bourbon and add some muddled ginger in the bottom. It is very good.

                1. Try what I like to call a Louisville Jackass.

                  I was just about to say that’s genius, but then I realized that you’ve basically invented… the bourbon and ginger. Just with fresh ginger and, presumably, lime.

                  Which isn’t to say that I’m not going to make one soon.

            2. I like a Punter’s Doddle. Pimm’s, Fever Tree Ginger Beer and rhubarb bitters.

            3. Just give me a good gin martini.

              A martini is made with gin. Period. There’s no such thing as a vodka martini. Frankly, it bugs the shit out of me when I have to specify gin when I order a martini. And get off my lawn

              1. I can tolerate the vodka martini, if it is called “vodka martini”. The precedent for that is pretty long. But calling any cocktail served in a martini glass a martini is one of the more irritating recent trends.

                1. My family was getting brunch and the ladies got excited and ordered a “Ruby Red Martini” I looked at the menu and it was red grapefruit juice and vodka in a martini glass. I ordered a greyhound, and got the same drink in a much larger glass with a smaller cost.

                  I cringe every time someone orders and appletini.

              2. You drink martinis with rail gin?!?! How gauche! I specify what kind of gin, not whether to use gin (i.e. “sapphire martini”)

                1. That’s funny, I read that as “rail gun.”

              3. Look, I’ll hear nothing against James Bond’s favorite drink:

                ‘A dry martini,’ he said. ‘One. In a deep champagne goblet.’
                ‘Oui, monsieur.’
                ‘Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?’
                ‘Certainly monsieur.’ The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
                ‘Gosh, that’s certainly a drink,’ said Leiter.
                Bond laughed. ‘When I’m…er…concentrating,’ he explained, ‘I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold, and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink’s my own invention. I’m going to patent it when I think of a good name.’

                Though one should note the gin in his vodka martini.

          3. Never tried it. Saw someone buying it the other day and they swore by it. Then again I’m not a huge cinnamon fan.

            1. It’s good, you don’t even taste the whiskey, it’s like drinking a Hot Tamale. It’s extremely popular among college kids, at least where I’m from.

              1. it’s like drinking a Hot Tamale

                I loved those things when I was ten years old and watching Indiana Jones in the theater, but at this point I think it would make me barf.

          4. A waste of perfectly good whiskey.

            I’ve tasted it, and it’s not terrible. But there is no time I would rather have it than pretty much any whiskey by itself. Could be good in coffee perhaps.

    5. He’s not unattractive.

      I agree with DT about those fucking board shorts. BURN ‘EM!

      1. So I take it you hated this commercial.

        1. No – that’s a cute commercial. I didn’t see any board shorts in it, though.

  9. “Worse, he says, these findings can be hijacked by powerful special-interest groups, such as the soft-drink and food lobbies, to influence policy-makers.”

    Do political considerations ever change the way Walter Willett presents his own research? Or just the way he thinks about other people’s research?

    Science isn’t something done by official scientists. It’s a way of thinking and conducting research. If political considerations are coloring your scientific work, at some point, it stops being science, and it turns into political advocacy masquerading as science.

    1. It’s a way of thinking and conducting research.

      No it’s not! It’s about getting really really smart experts in a room and taking a vote! Consensus!

      1. You mean science is like Congress?

        Eh, politicians don’t have the credentials to call what they do science, I guess.

        But if they did? They could vote on whether being fatter necessarily makes you less healthy.

        …or whether a warp drive would work!

    2. Science isn’t something done by official scientists.

      The Bureau of Scientist Licensing would beg to differ.

  10. Many scientists say that they are uncomfortable with the idea of hiding or dismissing data

    They fucking well should be.

  11. Incidentally, shen I lose weight, I get flabby.

    Most people who lift weights are like that, and I run about four miles every other day, too. If I stop lifting AND stop running, I lose weight. …and get flabby.

    Certainly doesn’t make me healthier.

    1. Since I upped my workouts to 5 times a week, people keep telling me that I’ve lost weight. My actual weight only changed from 205 to 200.

      1. Muscle is denser than fat. You lost fat and built muscle and thus got smaller and denser.

        1. I know. What they actually meant to say is that I look more in shape. But we keep hearing that thin=best, so people think “he looks better, he must have lose weight”.

        2. Meat sinks and fat floats.

  12. Mortality tends to focus more on the elderly since they are at the end of their life. The hypothesis being that elderly with lower bmi had less fat reserve, meaning less energy available for fighting infection and healing. A little extra weight gives you a reserve so you have a fighting chance of recovering, hence lower mortality.

  13. Dennis Franz is aging well, huh?

  14. Studies such as Flegal’s are dangerous, Willett says, because they could confuse the public and doctors, [because people and doctors are too fucking stupid to figure shit out on their own] and undermine public policies to curb rising obesity rates. [something tells me had more than a little to do with crafting those policies, or at the very least that many of his research grants are related to those policies] … Worse, he says, these findings can be hijacked by powerful special-interest groups, such as the soft-drink and food lobbies, to influence policy-makers. [KKKORPORASHUNZ!!! And heaven forbid anyone influence policy makers in a direction that he doesn’t like]

    Also, on a related note, where’d reason get a picture of Warty as a toddler?

    1. If Reason actually put up a picture of warty, we’d have all been driven as insane as Mary Stack.

      1. You can’t look directly at him, or his graven image.

        Well, you can, but then he’ll most definitely rape you.

        1. Is he related to Cthulhu? Or is he…

          Never mind. I don’t want to know.

        2. It’s impossible for me to rape. Remember my first commandment? THOU SHALT CONSENT.

          1. L’?tat, c’est Warty?

      2. If Reason actually put up a picture of warty, we’d have all been driven as insane as Mary Stack.

        How do you know we aren’t? There’s a good chance that none of us are real and are all just constructs of Mary Stack’s batshit crazy brain. Probably caused by her seeing a picture of Warty one time.

  15. This is just like when that study found that moderate alcohol consumption was good for your heart. The nanny-statists went ape shit. Except that this time there’s a very simple solution: adjust the BMI scale so that what was previously “overweight” is now normal and what was previously “obese” is now overweight, etc.

  16. It’s not hard to see why being a little overweight might be better than being fit with a low body fat percentage — there is a good reason that you might want to accumulate some fat for future energy use. For example, if you get sick and can’t eat much, having fat available for energy use is better than your body consuming only your muscle mass.

  17. Is it just me or is Willet’s attack on inconvenient research and studies similar to the whole AGW issue. If the results do not fit the politically correct mold, they must be suppressed.

    “It is more difficult, from a scientific perspective, to agree that these findings should not be published and discussed openly, warts and all, purely because they blend uncertainty into a simple mantra.” fits AGW as well.

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