Bob Condors September 8 commentary, "Toning down the Obesity Police," about "the celebration of fat womens health" did a terrible disservice.
If "big is beautiful," this 500-lb. woman must be absolutely gorgeous — hence her insistence on wearing bikinis.
The largest obesity study, reported last year in the New England Journal of Medicine, found "Excess body weight increases the risk of death from any cause and from cardiovascular disease in adults between 30 and 74 years of age."
And "excess" doesnt mean an extra 200 pounds. For example, the researchers found that men averaging six feet tall whose ages were only 30 to 44 increased their chance of death by 50 percent just by being 16 pounds overweight. The same journal published a study in 1995 showing that middle-aged women of average height just 30 to 40 pounds overweight increased their risk of death by 60 percent during the 18-year measuring period.
Myriad studies have correlated obesity with breast and other cancers, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and stroke. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported a year earlier that a 44-pound excess increased the chance of the most common form of stroke in women by two and one half times.
Conversely, a 1995 study put one group of men on a moderate nine-month weight-loss regimen, eventually losing an average of 21 pounds; another group remained obese but engaged in regular aerobic exercise. In nearly every measured risk factor for heart disease, it found the benefits of weight loss outweighed those of exercise.
Surgeon General David Satcher, former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, and top obesity researchers agree that 300,000 Americans die prematurely each year because of obesity. "Fat acceptance" means accepting increased sickness during life, followed by an early death. Is this something to celebrate?
Calculate your BMI to see if you are obese. What the scores mean:
- 24 or under: Minimal health risk
- 25-29: Low to moderate risk
- 30 or over: High risk