Obesity Myths Debunked
Most people believe that it is unhealthy to be fat. Sadly, the significant research challenging this "fact" is largely ignored.
There is much prejudice around fatness, making researchers and professionals alike highly biased. And bias can impact how research is carried out and interpreted. Consider that at one time scientific research existed to 'confirm' women were less intelligent than men; that African Americans were less intelligent than Caucasians; to show that women who studied too much would be less able to give birth. And there was even a psychiatric diagnosis for slaves with an unreasonable desire to escape!
Suffice it to say that science has been 'proving' man's beliefs for years. Are you ready to challenge mainstream thinking about weight? Read on! And then check out the resources at the bottom of this page.
Overweight is Healthier - This 12 year study of BMI and mortality in 11,326 adult Canadians showed increased risk of mortality in the thin (BMI <18.5) and 'obese' (BMI >35). However, there was a decreased risk of death for the overweight (BMI 25 to <30). Researchers stated, "Our results are similar to those from other recent studies, overweight appears to be protective against mortality." 6/09
Overweight Healthier Again - And what about BMI and mortality in 26,747 Japanese studied for 11 years? The underweight group had higher risk of mortality again. Even the normal-range group showed an elevated risk. In contrast, being overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9) 0r obese (BMI >/=30.0) did not elevated risk among men (for women, risk was "slightly elevated" for obese, but not for overweight). 6/09
The Obesity Paradox - Researchers show that "...obesity appears to be protective in a number of cardiovascular disorders...", but continue to recommend weight loss. Hmmm. 5/09
American's Health Improving - Check out America's Health Ranking. The chart shows that health is improving. But we keep hearing everyone is getting too fat. Hmmm. Colorado is the thinnest, but health is worse. 22% of Vermonter's are obese, but they are the healthiest. Go figure! 12/08
Is Fatness to Blame? - In this New York Times article, "Losing the Weight Stigma." 10/08
Overweight Healthier! - Overweight have fewer deaths than normal weight. “I believe the data,” said Dr. Barrett-Connor, "a BMI of 25 to 30, the so-called overweight range, may be optimal." 11/07 ....but the experts refuse to acknowledge it.
Seeing Patterns Where None Exist - Researchers looked for associations between health problems and....astrological signs. And they actually found associations! When researchers dredge through a database looking for patterns, they are sure to find them. Much depends on their initial bias!
Obesity Claims Challenged - Current scientific evidence should prompt health professionals to consider whether it makes sense to treat body weight as a barameter of health. International Journal of Epidemiology (IJE), 2006
Obesity Officials Funded by Weight Loss Industry - World Health Organization "independent" obesity stays afloat with "millions" from weight loss drug industry. Original article in British Medical Journal. 6/06
400, 000 Deaths Grossly Exaggerated - CDC needs to disclose how flawed research was cleared within the agency. 5/05
CDC Experts Reveal Truth - The CDC admits that excess weight is about one-fifteenth as dangerous as previously thought, CDC must retract obesity deaths study. 5/05
Obesity: An Overblown Epidemic? - An increasing number of scholars have begun accusing obesity experts, public health officials and the media of exaggerating the health effects of overweight and obesity. 5/05
CDC Study Exposed - Obesity causes 400,000 deaths annually, right? In little more than a year, the CDC's much-touted study has come unraveled. Here is a timeline of the study's incremental demise. 4/05
Fatness Not Necessarily Unhealthy, But Thinness Can Be - After decades of dire warnings to lose weight, it turns out that a modest amount of "excess" weight may be good for you! And being too thin is dangerous. See CDC: Save Our Statistics, They're Sinking Fast - informative article with links, and You Can Be Too Thin Afterall - a NYTimes editorial. 4/05
Life Expectancy: Another Obesity Myth Debunked - Experts say that kids are getting so fat that they will not live as long as their parents. Obesity scaremongers have repeated this in countless articles, editorials, and even Congressional testimony - all without so much as a shred of credible research to back it up. This "deeply flawed study" was in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). 3/05
CDC Study Overstated Obesity as Cause of Death - Apparently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overstated the number of obesity-related deaths. 11/04
CDC Must Retract Obesity Deaths Study - Just a year after its extremely controversial announcement that excess weight kills 400,000 American each year, the agency is rumbling, bumbling, stumbling toward an explanation for the new results that says the real figure is just 26,000. 4/04
Obesity Not Necessarily a Risk Factor - A “fat” body cannot possibly be fit and healthy, right? Wrong, see this report on the scientific evidence that challenges these views.
The Fat Epidemic is An Illusion - Contrary to popular opinion, national data do not show Americans growing uniformly fatter. Instead statistics demonstrate clearly that while the very fat are getting fatter, thinner people have remained pretty much the same. 6/04
Public Enemy Number One: Tobacco or Obesity? - The evidence on tobacco is well tested, but " the new numbers on obesity are weak--or as one critic in CDC says, "loosey-goosey."" CDC authors use inconsistent methods for calculating relative risks associated with tobacco and bad diet. Several epidemiologists at CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) echoed these concerns but declined to speak on the record. "I don't want to lose my job," said one CDC staffer who does research in this area. Science, 5/04
"Obesity" Expert Calls for Nationwide Effort to Diet - Obesity researcher Xavier Pi-Sunyer makes claims that others call ludicrous.
Women Get Heavier, and Healthier, as they Age - Women are getting healthier at the same time they’re getting heavier. Yet more proof that experts fighting obesity are not seeing things clearly. 5/00
Big Fat Lies: The Truth About Your Weight and Your Health by Glenn Gaesser
The Diet Myth: Why America's Obsessions with Weight is Hazardous to Your Health by Paul Campos
Fat Politics: The Real Story Behind the Obesity Epidemic by J. Eric Oliver
Health At Every Size: The Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon.
Big Fat Facts - Get the facts, good summary, plus excellent blog.