Government Overstated Obesity Danger
Government claims of the health risks of being overweight have been vastly overstated. Mostly, this is because the “normal” weight levels are well below where they should be.
Being overweight is nowhere near as big a killer as the government thought, ranking No. 7 instead of No. 2 among the nation’s leading preventable causes of death, according to a startling new calculation from the CDC. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated Tuesday that packing on too many pounds accounts for 25,814 deaths a year in the United States. As recently as January, the CDC came up with an estimate 14 times higher: 365,000 deaths. The new analysis found that obesity Ã¢€” being extremely overweight Ã¢€” is indisputably lethal. But like several recent smaller studies, it found that people who are modestly overweight actually have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight.
Biostatistician Mary Grace Kovar, a consultant for the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center in Washington, said “normal” may be set too low for today’s population. Also, Americans classified as overweight are eating better, exercising more and managing their blood pressure better than they used to, she said. The study Ã¢€” an analysis of mortality rates and body-mass index, or BMI Ã¢€” was published in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association.
It’s undeniable that Americans are fatter than we should be and that a large percentage are quite obese. But the current BMI tables are simply ridiculous. In a society where even the poor have easy access to protein-rich foods and excellent nutrition, even fit people are much bigger than a generation or two ago.
The idea that a 6’1″ man such as myself would be at “normal” weight at 144 pounds is preposterous. In my college days, when I was quite fit owing to the rigors or military training, my weight was in the 178-185 range. I’d have looked like a concentration camp survivor at 144.