RYAN BAKKEN: Working hard just to be overweightTen days ago, a released study showed that overweight people live longer than those of normal weight. Now they tell me. Now, after buying a fitness club membership? Now, after pints, gallons, maybe even acre-feet, of sweat rolling off my forehead onto the treadmill?
By: Ryan Bakken, Grand Forks Herald
Ten days ago, a released study showed that overweight people live longer than those of normal weight.
Now they tell me.
Now, after buying a fitness club membership?
Now, after pints, gallons, maybe even acre-feet, of sweat rolling off my forehead onto the treadmill?
Now, after workout pain that likely has exceeded childbirth pain, although I can only speculate?
Now, after passing on those holiday goodies?
Where was that study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention back in November? Suppressed by a consortium of Jillian Michaels, Richard Simmons and the ghost of Jack LaLanne? Eaten by American Medical Association’s pet dog?
Granted, my workout regimen has shed some tonnage, likely the equivalent of throwing a few deck chairs off the Titanic, as the cliché goes. Granted, I feel better, at least at the moment where I can move one notch on my belt. So, I should be grateful.
However, no one likes to be hoodwinked. The finding is a classic example of a mixed message.
However, I need to confess that the column’s opening sentence is slightly exaggerated. Yes, the study findings showed that overweight people do live longer, but only if they’re slightly overweight. Being obese has the reverse effect.
So, the question begs, how do we get to slightly?
For me, to carry the Titanic metaphor further, getting to slightly would require the overboard tossing of more deck chairs, four lifeboats, three chandeliers, two boilers and the entire galley staff.
What’s dangerous about this latest AMA study is that a lot of people likely consider themselves only slightly overweight, not obese. So, they reason, they’re good.
The official classification is defined by what’s called a body mass index, which is calculated by measuring a person’s weight by their height.
As one AMA official put it, the correlation between BMI and body fat can be weak. “There are people who are overweight who are not over-fat… and there are people who are normal weight who are over-fat.”
The doctor added that overweight people who take refuge in the study’s results should understand that the study didn’t look at the overall health of overweight people, just whether they immediately were “likely to die.”
OK, so I’ll keep at it. Fellow fitness club members need to continue to be aware of the torrents of perspiration. Wear your lifejackets.
Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1125; or send e-mail to email@example.com.