Heavy Hitters, Part 3: Biting Back

(This is the third installment in a five-part series about fat acceptance.)
Despite the foregoing litany of medical data, as far as fat advocates are concerned, there’s not even a debate; the implication that overweight people are inherently at greater risk for any diseases and frailties is a chimera bred of corporate greed, cultural bias, far-flung conspiracies and colossal red herrings. On its Web site, NAAFA claims — accurately, to be sure — that many fat people do not receive adequate preventative health care owing to “prejudicial medical treatment and harassment by health care professionals.” And research, not to mention common sense, has shown that active but heavier people may certainly be healthier than their leaner, inactive counterparts.
But such a mindset often leads to questionable leaps of logic. Hard-line fat advocates contend that if any health risks associated with being overweight exist, they are the result of yo-yo dieting and futile efforts on the part of a misguided medical establishment to make fat people thin, not the intrinsic by-products of expanded waistlines. And McAleer — seemingly with one eye on the relatively rare fit-and-fat crowd — habitually retains the bathwater along with the baby in his apparent eagerness to dismiss any purported obesity-disease correlations as myths.
If these seem like dodgy rationalizations, it’s because they are, or so most doctors and scientists believe. “Obesity doesn’t kill everyone afflicted by it,” Albright says, “just as untreated hypertensive patients can die of cancer and vice-versa.”

Continue reading “Heavy Hitters, Part 3: Biting Back”

Heavy Hitters, Part 2: By the Numbers

(This is the second installment in a five-part series about fat acceptance.)
Regarding the medical aspects of being overweight or obese, do fat advocates have a case? Overwhelmingly, statistics are not on their side. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney (NIDDK) Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, the Federal Government’s lead agency responsible for biomedical research on nutrition and obesity, excess weight is associated with an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, diabetes, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease, fatty liver disease, and some forms of cancer.

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The latest on fighting fire(water): worth a hill of beans?

This has probably been addressed within this blogmunity already, but a highly publicized study of almost 130,000 Kaiser Permanante members in Northern California has concluded that coffee consumption decreases the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis in a dose-dependent manner.

…drinking one to three cups of coffee a day was associated with a 40% decrease in the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis versus drinking less than one cup (P<0.001), according to a report in the June 13 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Moreover … this protective effect appears to be dose-dependent. Those who drank four or more cups of coffee had an 80% decrease in the relative risk of alcoholic cirrhosis (95% CI 0.1-0.4, P<0.001).
Among subgroups of patients with nonalcoholic cirrhosis, coffee had a similar, weak, nonstatistically significant inverse relation to risk of either viral hepatitis-associated cirrhosis or to miscellaneous other cirrhosis.

I’ll offer the usual caveat (I’d have to read the entire thing to have a genuine clue) but I found it telling that lifestyle habits (i.e., amount of coffee and alcohol consumed) were collected only at baseline in a study in which enrollees were followed up 16 to 23 years later.

Continue reading “The latest on fighting fire(water): worth a hill of beans?”

Heavy Hitters, Part 1: The Scale of the Problem

(This is the first installment in a five-part series about fat acceptance.)
They’ve been part of the U.S. since the days of the Founding Fathers, but in recent years their presence has become increasingly visible. Now comprising about two-thirds of the American populace, the more vocal among their ranks have been causing a stir lately; their unconditional refusal to accept long-standing, seemingly incontrovertible research findings puts them squarely at odds with a large, powerful segment of the scientific community. Moreover, the fight – and its consequences – may only be in the opening round.

Continue reading “Heavy Hitters, Part 1: The Scale of the Problem”