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Friday, April 22, 2005

Fat: now better than ever 

This is interesting... the CDC seems to have revised downward their estimate of annual fat-related deaths. They now think it kills less than a tenth as many people as previously assumed, gone from 400,000/a to about 26,000/a. The remaining deaths are almost entirely concentrated in the morbidly obese BMI classification, and there seems to be virtually no risk to longevity from being a bit overweight.

The real question is, how did the CDC miss by 374,000 in the first place?

More to the point, the CDC has said that this new estimate won't change its campaign against obesity. Hm? Okay, this still makes obesity the 7th most common cause of death in the US, but shouldn't the fact that it's now less than a tenth as deadly as they thought last month count for anything?

I'm having a bit of a Damascene moment here myself, since years ago I went on the record as saying that more people died of being too fat than too thin. This is apparently not the case. My guess is that when you get old or sick, having a few extra pounds of fat reserves is important, since it allows you to weather the ailment. You don't see a lot of really heavy septagenarians, after all.

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