Gevaar zwaarlijvigheid zwaar overdreven

Steeds meer wetenschappers beginnen zich achter de oren te krabben bij de suggestie dat mensen met een volgens de WHO te hoge Body Mass Index (BMI) een grotere kans op overlijden hebben dan mensen die wél aan het gezonde BMI kriterium voldoen.


Volgens een analyse die in de Scientific American is verschenen zijn er in het verleden door de gretigheid om een dergelijk verband aan te tonen erg veel fouten gemaakt door wetenschappers. Er zijn zelfs indicaties dat afvalpogingen meer schade doen dan het gewicht zelf. Ook kan té licht van gewicht zijn meer schade aanrichten dan te zwaar zijn.


Wanneer komt ditzelfde inzicht voor wat betreft de roken claims? Want ook daar wordt de boel door gretige wetenschappers zwaar bedonderd….


[…]


And yet an increasing number of scholars have begun accusing obesity experts, public health officials and the media of exaggerating the health effects of the epidemic of overweight and obesity. The charges appear in a recent flurry of scholarly books, including The Obesity Myth, by Paul F. Campos (Gotham Books, 2004); The Obesity Epidemic: Science, Morality and Ideology, by Michael Gard and Jan Wright (Routledge, 2005); Obesity: The Making of an American Epidemic, by J. Eric Oliver (Oxford University Press, August 2005); and a book on popular misconceptions about diet and weight gain by Barry Glassner (to be published in 2006 by HarperCollins).


These critics, all academic researchers outside the medical community, do not dispute surveys that find the obese fraction of the population to have roughly doubled in the U.S. and many parts of Europe since 1980. And they acknowledge that obesity, especially in its extreme forms, does seem to be a factor in some illnesses and premature deaths.


They allege, however, that experts are blowing hot air when they warn that overweight and obesity are causing a massive, and worsening, health crisis. They scoff, for example, at the 2003 assertion by Julie L. Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that “if you looked at any epidemic–whether it’s influenza or plague from the Middle Ages–they are not as serious as the epidemic of obesity in terms of the health impact on our country and our society.” (An epidemic of influenza killed 40 million people worldwide between 1918 and 1919, including 675,000 in the U.S.)


What is really going on, asserts Oliver, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, is that “a relatively small group of scientists and doctors, many directly funded by the weight-loss industry, have created an arbitrary and unscientific definition of overweight and obesity. They have inflated claims and distorted statistics on the consequences of our growing weights, and they have largely ignored the complicated health realities associated with being fat.”


Scientific American

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