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18 February 2008 @ 12:14 pm
Big Stuff  
I'm currently teaching a nutrition class, and the various topics for Friday include metabolism, energy balance, weight management, and eating disorders (whew! this'll spill over into later classes, too, I'm sure).  As a contrast to all of the material that I expect the students will come up with (but they are also likely to surprise me) I'd like to have some information on being healthy while having a much larger than "acceptable" BMI. 

I know some of you out there know much more about this than I do (I know next to nothing), so I'm hoping I can get a few pointers.  Web sights?  Actual scientific studies?  Do we, for example, have actual evidence that carrying many extra pounds causes cardiac problems, or do we only have a correlation?  If only a correlation, do we have evidence that the correlation is still strong when other correlating factors (e.g., amount of trans fats in the diet) are taken out of the equation?

Thanks!
 
 
 
kmdkmd on February 18th, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC)

One of the best websites out there for debunking BMI hysteria is:

http://www.junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/

and this is one of the best blogs for all-around debunking of obesity hysteria:

http://www.bigfatblog.com/

And this is my very favorite website for nutrition and Health at Every Size info:

http://www.lindabacon.org/

Her publications rock. Especially http://www.lulu.com/content/128917 which she says is a work in progress, but I love it.

Lynnettela_penguinita on February 18th, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC)
I'm sure others have more actual data for ya, but I just thought I'd toss this into the mix.

When the BMI first came out, I remember an article (sorry--no idea where I saw it) that looked at the U.S. Women's Crew Team and how every single one of them was classifiable as "obese" or "morbidly obese" based solely on their BMI. Granted, their weight was from muscle mass, not fat, but no one could say they were out of shape and therefore more prone to the common diseases attributed to actual obesity.

It gave me very little confidence in the BMI from that point on, I must say.

dr_bratdr_brat on February 18th, 2008 07:38 pm (UTC)
I'm intrigued by the fact that the Wikipedia entry on BMI is fairly sceptical. Perhaps the sources it lists at the end would be a good place to start your search: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_mass_index

This site - http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/risk.htm- pairs weight with two other risk factors (from a list), so apparently it's a correlation rather than a causal relationship in the absence of additional risk factors.

So far as I know, it's not the weight per se, but the things that come with additional weight (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, inflammation, impaired kidney function) that cause the risks associated with higher weights.
sethb on February 19th, 2008 01:25 am (UTC)
Body fat percentage is a much more useful piece of information (in terms of health), but it's harder to measure and the light's better over here.
Stacy, Without an "E": Epicurean Iconfunkelnagelneue on February 19th, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
Check out Diet for a New America by John Robbins for citations of articles that link diet to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc. The articles are likely to be out of date, because the book came out in the 1980s, I believe, but you might be able to do a citation search to find more recent articles that are doing updated studies based on or inspired by the older ones.