Obesity rates are very sadly…probably underestimated

Obesity rates are very sadly…probably underestimated

A study published this week in the journal PLoS One had some very sobering news for Americans (and of course, British, New Zealanders and Australians, given we eat the same foods).  Eric R. Braverman, MD and Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH, researchers from Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York, found that when they looked back and re-analysed the assessments of a huge bunch of New Yorkers, 39% of all those who had been classified as overweight were, according to their re-testing, actually clinically obese.  The old testing had only used BMI measures (which can often show an athlete as obese due to their muscle weight).  The authors re-examined the DXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scans of 9,088 New York adults between 1998 and 2009 and measured body fat directly, rather than BMI scores alone. 

Overweight becomes obese

After the new analysis they found that 64% of the patients were now classed as obese whereas only 26% of the patients were obese according to current BMI only methods.  This means that there are many people now who consider they are of a good healthy weight (as our meals have grown so has our understanding of what a healthy weight is) but are in fact heading towards diabetes, heart disease and worse.   Over 40% of the cases may be getting misdiagnosed.  Most people just do not connect being overweight or obese with the serious reality check of a far higher risk of developing cancer, heart disease, and type II diabetes – and with it the risk of early blindness, limb amputations (losing an arm or leg) and a total lack of mobility (lose the ability to even walk).  Basically if you stay overweight for a long period your odds of dying younger from a painful preventable illness skyrocket.  Sadly many of us are under the illusion that “it will not happen to me”

I have watched people like that eat and drink themselves to death and it breaks the hearts of those around them.

New Zealand, Britain & Australia would be just as bad
Given that we are all in the top fattest, most overweight and obese countries in the world, the flawed BMI measurement would affect us as well.  When you consider this you start to realise that longevity for the next generation will not just be shorter but it will be dramatically shorter – after a long period of medications, sickness and pain. 

Is there hope?  Yes of course, making positive lifestyle changes including changing to a plant-based wholefood diet is the single most powerful thing we can do.

Study by Eric R. Braverman, MD and Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH, researchers from Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York, as published in the journal PLoS One, April 3, 2012.  As reported in the Academic Journal on 3 April 2012.


Posted: Thursday 5 April 2012