Maybe after reading this far in the blog, you’re thinking “But Mel, it’s unhealthy to be fat!” I can understand why you are concerned, but it’s just not true!
Hey, it sounds like we’ve got another myth! Time for some more Mythbusting!!
Let’s first look at the dictionary definition of the word ‘diagnosis’ – Diagnosis is the act or process of identifying or determining the nature and cause of a disease or injury through evaluation of patient history, examination, and review of laboratory data.
As Regan says, “Notice that it doesn’t say: “The act of looking at someone fully clothed, making guesses about their health, and then medicating, shaming and/or stigmatizing them based on your conclusions.””
So, first off, the idea that anyone (including a doctor) can make any diagnosis simply by looking at you, is complete hogwash. Just because someone is fat, that doesn’t mean that they automatically have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or any of the other myriad diseases that ave been erroneously linked to obesity. Fat people can be perfectly healthy, with excellent cholesterol and blood sugar levels, just as thin people can be unhealthy and develop cardiovascular diseases or issues with their blood sugar. As a matter of fact, the evidence we DO have, points in the other direction.
A JABFM study states in it’s abstract that,
“When stratified into normal weight, overweight, and obese groups, all groups benefited from the adoption of healthy habits, with the greatest benefit seen within the obese group.
Conclusions: Healthy lifestyle habits are associated with a significant decrease in mortality regardless of baseline body mass index.”
This supports the idea that many fat activists have stated saying that you can be fat AND fit. Healthy habits like moving more, eating more fruits and vegetables, and not smoking are good fo you no matter your pants size.
Another study further supports the idea that BMI, or Body Mass Index, is indeed BS.
“BMI, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio, whether assessed singly or in combination, do not importantly improve cardiovascular disease risk prediction in people in developed countries when additional information is available for systolic blood pressure, history of diabetes, and lipids.” (emphasis mine)
Basically what this is saying is that there are many other (better) ways to assess a person’s cardiovascular health, and BMI is not one of them. Taking a person’s weight in pounds by their height squared and multiplying the result by 703 doesn’t give you an accurate idea of how healthy they are. Plenty of people with high BMIs have cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose readings that are consistently in the normal/healthy range.
In fact, several studies show that being fat is actually an advantage when it comes to surviving procedures like surgery or dialysis.
Junkfood Science has a great article that discusses a study reported at a meeting of the American Heart Association which
“found that fatter cardiac patients were more likely to survive hospitalization and invasive treatments than thinner ones, even when adjusting for age and other contributing factors.”
This study showed that rather than dying young and fat as we have been lead to believe will happen, fat people live longer than thin people and are more likely to survive cardiac events. Fat actually seems to be both protective and beneficial for other medical maladies including infections, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, anemia, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and type 2 diabetes.
Another study, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association concludes that,
“This study provides evidence that frequent intentional weight loss may have long-term effects on immune function.”
JfS also has another great article discussing a study that shows that
“… among dialysis patients, “obese” patients are far more likely to survive than smaller patients.”
But my favorite part of this article was where Sandy points out that
According to these doctors, the popular belief that fatness is associated with heart disease among these patients has not been shown in any study.” (emphasis mine)
Did you catch that? The bunk and bull that we have had shoved down our throats for so long about how obesity causes heart disease has never been proven in ANY study!!! Yet despite the lack of evidence, we have been told that being fat causes heart disease, and for years we have simply accepted it as true.
I share all of this with you because I want you to see that many of the myths that we have been led to believe about obesity are just that, MYTHS. I encourage you to continue to research for yourself. Find out what the evidence says, and what it doesn’t say. Regan has an excellent resource page to help you get started.
Until next time, dear readers, keep being AWESOME!