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Viewpoints: can you be healthy at any weight?

Australians are getting heavier and, as a result, are more likely to suffer life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and strokes. But should we be worried about a bit of excess weight…

If we’re fit, does it matter what we weigh? Image from shutterstock.com

Australians are getting heavier and, as a result, are more likely to suffer life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and strokes.

But should we be worried about a bit of excess weight? After all, isn’t it better to focus on exercise so we can be healthy, whatever our size?

Today’s Viewpoints: can you be healthy at any weight? Tim Olds argues we can; while Anna Peeters outlines why we shouldn’t give up on keeping our weight in check.


Tim Olds:

A study published earlier this month followed up 9,538 Americans born between 1931 and 1941. It asked a very simple question: who are the least likely to die?

The authors considered the weight status of the participants at age 51 or over, and how their weight changed in the subsequent 16 years or until their death. At entry into the study, they were classified as normal weight, overweight, obese, or very obese. In the intervening years they were classified as either increasing weight, staying stable, or losing weight.

So which group was the least likely to die? Not, as we might expect, the normal weight participants who were weight stable, or lost weight. It was overweight participants who remained overweight, followed by overweight participants who became obese. Apart from the very obese who became ever more obese, those most likely to die were normal weight participants who lost weight.

It seems counter-intuitive, but there has been a flood of studies among Americans, Norwegians, Canadians, Hispanics, Europeans and older Australians with similar findings: overweight people live longer.

Rather than worrying about getting fat, we should all relax a bit and focus on being healthy at any weight.


Anna Peeters:

We know that excess weight and obesity lead to many chronic diseases, ranging from diabetes through to cardiovascular disease and cancer, to sleep apnoea and musculoskeletal disease.

Young adults are gaining around 0.5kg a year. Image from shutterstock.com

We and others have shown that the overall impact of these health risks is more disability in old age. We also looked at middle-aged Australians and found that those who were even mildly overweight were at greater risk of disability later in life than those of a normal weight.

The results Tim discusses above are significant and reflect the importance of maintaining, not gaining, weight as we age. They also show the risks of unintentional weight loss as we age, usually a sign of losing muscle rather than fat.

As individuals, we should definitely focus on being healthy at any weight. But as a society we should not lose sight of the fact that most Australians are continuing to gain weight. The latest analysis of the Australian Diabetes Obesity and Lifestyle cohort, found young adults were gaining 0.5kg per year, or around 7kg over the 12 year study.

In this context, it would be irresponsible not to work together to improve our nutrition and activity environments, and prevent more weight gain.


Tim Olds:

Anna is quite right on two points, and here we can agree: adults everywhere are getting fatter (though this is not true of kids). And fatter people are more likely to suffer from a wide range of diseases, including diabetes, arthritis and cardiovascular disease.

Now let me ask another question. Which is more important: fatness or fitness? Should we spend limited health dollars trying to get people to lose weight, or to get active? I’ll argue here for physical activity.

First, people who are fat but active have a much lower risk of death than people who are fat but inactive. Second, people who are fat but active have about the same, or lower, risk of death than people who are lean but inactive. Third, if you exercise, you’ll be healthier even if you don’t lose weight

It’s better to be fat and active than lean and inactive. Flickr/pennstatenews

But does fitness trump fatness? A study published this month may help to answer that question. It followed 11,240 Americans for 12 years and calculated the percentage of deaths attributable to fitness, fatness, diet and smoking. The greatest contributor to deaths was low fitness (6-7%), followed by smoking (5%), diet (3%) and fatness (0%).

We have an epidemic of inactivity. Low fitness is a stronger predictor of overall mortality than fatness. Weight loss among overweight and healthy obese people is a failed concept both in terms of evidence and in terms of implementation.

So why on earth are we focusing so much on fatness, and so little on physical activity?


Anna Peeters:

There is no debate about the importance of aerobic fitness for health, quality of life and survival. But fitness is a marker of your capacity for activity, not your current physical activity levels, and it’s also affected by sex, age, ethnicity, obesity, activity and poor health.

While Tim’s point that fitness matters more than weight is true, the same article also shows that weight matters more than physical activity.

But it should not be a competition. Healthy diet, activity and weight all work together to improve our fitness.

Tim mentions that obesity rates are no longer going up in kids. Well, in the US, the rate of childhood obesity is declining, thanks to strong government action to improve food and activity standards in children’s setting. This action came about to combat the obesity epidemic.

A better diet is just as important for weight loss as exercise. Image from shutterstock.com

We need strong advocacy if we are to smarten up the food choices available to us in Australia.

The focus now needs to be on the healthy environments and behaviours, and obesity remains an important marker of our progress. If we normalise obesity we’re missing our chance to prevent premature chronic disease for our children, and our children’s children.

Yes, increasing activity and avoiding inactivity has the potential to improve health in everyone. But achieving that is just as hard as improving diet, or any combination of the two, which is the general aim of weight loss strategies.


Tim Olds:

Anna is quite right when she says the stabilisation and decline in obesity in kids is most likely the result of repeated messages at all levels. But kids are the low-hanging fruit of the obesity tree, because parents act as gatekeepers for their exercise and dietary behaviours. Unfortunately, parents aren’t as good at regulating their own behaviours.

Weight loss attempts by adults have a poor success rate. Take this 2005 Danish study which followed a large cohort of adults over six years. At the start, about 36% said they intended to lose weight. At the end of the study, 38% of those intending to lose weight actually had lost weight. That doesn’t sound too bad, until you know that 38% of those not intending to lose weight had also lost weight!

We also know that over the long term (i.e. years) only about 5-10% of those trying to lose weight maintian their weight loss.

Studies have also shown that in the face of public health “weight scare” messages (such as the Measure Up ads), overweight people think that the messages don’t apply to them — only to really overweight people — while obese people simply pull down the shutters and block their ears.

Weight loss is a laudable goal, but we’ll end up with a healthier (and probably leaner) population if we shift the emphasis from weight loss to healthy lifestyle, and tell people that exercise and a good diet are more important and more achievable goals.


One in four Australian children is overweight or obese. Image from shutterstock.com

Anna Peeters:

In Australia, more than six in ten adults and one in four children are overweight or obese. To deal with this we need to promote and facilitate healthier nutrition and activity, enable those at risk of further weight gain to maintain weight and manage weight and health complications in those living with obesity.

Clearly, advocating healthy lifestyles is one part of the solution, but education alone will not be sufficient. We need to enable those living with obesity to maximise their health and well-being, and access treatment.

We also cannot ignore the role of the environment we live in. So, instead of debating fitness versus fatness, we need to shift from a focus on individuals to a focus on society. Then healthy choices – both activity and diet – can become the easy choices for everyone.


Can you be healthy at any weight? Share your comments below.

Join the conversation

49 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. May Stevenson

    Horticulturalist

    Essentially the question is irrelevant. It is virtually impossible statistically speaking to loose a significant amount of weight and keep it off long term. In fact loosing significant amounts of weight when you are obese is very likely to make you even fatter in the long term. So why keep trying to get people to loose weight when it is so unsuccessful when helping people to be more active is much more successful and leads to much better outcomes?

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    1. rory robertson

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to May Stevenson

      May, your statement "It is virtually impossible statistically speaking to [lose] a significant amount of weight and keep it off long term" is wrong, although what you say is widely believed. The problem is that modern nutrition science has been barking up the wrong (low-fat/high-carb) tree for the past 30-40 years, having forgotten much of what was learned about diet and obesity over the previous couple of centuries. The links in my earlier comment may be helpful.

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    2. Harry Blutstein

      Adjunct Professor, School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning at RMIT University

      In reply to May Stevenson

      In addition to this point, I would add that there is little if any evidence that shows that obese people who have taken off weight have better health outcomes. On the other hand, investing in programs that prevent people getting obese in the first place is worthwhile.

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    3. Kirsty Douglas

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to May Stevenson

      Difficult? Certainly.
      Impossible? No

      However, it makes a great excuse to keep saying it.

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  2. Chris Colenso-Dunne

    logged in via email @hushmail.com

    'At entry into the study, they were classified as normal weight, overweight, obese, or very obese. In the intervening years they were classified as either increasing weight, staying stable, or losing weight.' ~ Tim Olds

    That would result in twelve categories. In their abstract, the researchers Hui Zeng et al, however, state that they:

    '... defined 6 latent BMI trajectories: normal weight downward, normal weight upward, overweight stable, overweight obesity, class I obese upward, and class…

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  3. rory robertson

    logged in via email @gmail.com

    Thanks Anna and Tim. I agree that "it would be irresponsible not to work together to improve our nutrition and activity environments, and prevent more weight gain". There are so many moving parts in the obesity puzzle. Let me share what I think I have learned in recent years.

    Yes, diet and exercise both are very important. The trouble is that exercise is so painful/tedious for those already significantly overweight. The trick is losing weight first, in my opinion, making it easier and more enjoyable…

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    1. Georgina Byrne
      Georgina Byrne is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer at Farming

      In reply to rory robertson

      Most "diets" result in former weight being regained once the regimen is no longer followed. One system which does appear to work beautifully is the 5/2 diet...undertaken by a number of people not for weight loss but for cell repair, especially brain cells. In our case (70 and 72 year olds) the side-effect weight loss led to greater energy and abatement of arthritic symptoms. The possibility of dementia avoidance is still the major incentive however. Long term the effects of excess fat on dementia are worth looking at. Not much point in long life if it happens in a constant state of helpless bewilderment!

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  4. Harry Blutstein

    Adjunct Professor, School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning at RMIT University

    This is an important debate, but unfortunately the participants were not talking to the same evidence. Tim arguments were supported by mortality data while Anna focused on the link between obesity and disability.

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  5. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Gawd this is a confoundingly confused business... but at a personal level the message seems rather clear - death by sofa.

    Large people can be fit and active ... hard on the ticker but some tickers are tough apparently. But a life spent sitting or lounging about is a recipe for a miserable dotage.

    In that sense I suspect the real message from both sides is to get up of your sofa and go for a walk, plant some fruit trees, work up a sweat - no matter your size.

    In my experience trying to do physical things will see people want to get fitter and stronger and will in most cases want to lose weight but making folks feel guilty about their size probably doesn't help - just makes them depressed and resentful.

    Not so much what you eat it's what you do. So get up you lazy indolent sofa lizards!

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    1. Georgina Byrne
      Georgina Byrne is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer at Farming

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Just being on the land is a recipe for better health anyway....endless sofa sitting is impossible in the face of all that needs to be done on a farm especially one with significant gardens. In the same way, even a small gardening an urban setting can be of immense help...the allotment idea and schools gardens are a great solution to so many potential and actual problems....it is a heck of a lot easier to be fit and active if you're not carrying around a great backpack of extra fat while doing it! Being out and about in nature keeps you away from all those temptations in the pantry and on every street corner too.

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    2. David Coles

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Georgina Byrne

      Worked for me. The joint effect of physical activity and a better diet - less carbs, fat and processed food - took the 20 kilos I needed to get off. My lifestyle changed from essentially sedentary with bursts of activity to one of the constant activity you have to undertake running a small farm and none of the weight has come back on - yet.

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  6. John Davidson

    Retired engineer

    We need more data on the "weight losers who died". Numerous fatal diseases are characterized by weight loss in the run down to death. Ditto dying of old age.
    In addition, some of the diet strategies used to reduce weight may contribute to death because they don't provide all the nutrients required to maintain immune systems etc.
    It is also worth noting that many of the discomforts of old age come from the wear and tear of sporting activities when people were younger. For example, the surgeon who replaced my wife's knees said netball was marvelous for his business because of the knee shocks that are part or parcel of the game.
    It is also worth asking how many how many overweight oldies who find exercise uncomfortable are in that state because of eating habits they developed when they needed high energy diets for the sports they practiced and/or find it hard to move because of sport related injuries and wear and tear?

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    1. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to John Davidson

      John R Davidson said: "We need more data on the "weight losers who died. Numerous fatal diseases are characterized by weight loss in the run down to death. Ditto dying of old age. "

      This has always been the obvious flaw in this type of research and I don't understand why reputable commenters do not address it. We know that many smokers are lean, and that they are likely to have covert disease. We know that cachexia affects cancer and other disease sufferers, even when undiagnosed.

      Prof Olds, did you analyse the research you quote for these confounders? Surely you must have; and what did you find?

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    2. Tim Olds

      Professor of Health Sciences at University of South Australia

      In reply to John Davidson

      John makes a good point. While weight loss in people of normal weight and people who are overweight and even moderately obese is associated with a higher mortality, it may be that it represents some underlying pathology. To allow for this, epidemiologists exclude from their analyses anyone with a known underlying condition, and sometimes people with various risk factors. Sørensen's study focussed on people who intentionally lost weight, and found the same relationship. But for me the more interesting part is that those who were weight stable or gained weight lived longer.

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    3. Georgina Byrne
      Georgina Byrne is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer at Farming

      In reply to Tim Olds

      It is interesting, but in ageing populations, surely dementia is a confounding factor for the chronically overweight...I've seen and read that excess amounts of fructose in the diet and associated fat deposition are risk factors not just for diabetes bowel cancer etc but also for high blood pressure and dementia. Calorie restriction certainly increases longevity in animal studies...but it has to be permanent...not on/off dieting, which certainly does not work....My husband worked with the severely…

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  7. Megan Davidson

    logged in via Twitter

    The challenge of getting the minimum recommended levels of physical activity cannot be understated in a society that seems geared to keep us sitting down. I only managed to achieve it (and exceed the minimum) by putting an eliptical trainer in front of the TV.

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  8. Will Hunt

    Farmer

    Dad had many horses in his time. His favourite mount was, a Thourougbred, Fred, a big long rangy skinny horse with coil spring suspension who would go like the wind.
    For pulling carts though, we had old Dolly who was mostly Clydesdale.
    To look at the 2 horses, they were about the same height and length but the build was incredibly different.
    People, generally don't have any problem with that, but for some reason they expect all People of a certain height to weigh the same.
    I think some people are born to be racehorses and some people are born to be carthorses. Providing you are a fit and active, being a good well muscled cart horse is infinitely better than being a cart horse thats trying to look like a racehorse.

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    1. Georgina Byrne
      Georgina Byrne is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer at Farming

      In reply to Will Hunt

      Under the rough classifications of ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph learnt at high school in my distant past, Fred would be an ectomorph and Dolly a mesomorph...no grazing animal can afford to be an endomorph except maybe an adult elephant as they couldn't get away from predators. No farm animal or any animal is benefitted by becoming excessively fat ...and we humans are after all just very smart apes. It is really an absolutely simple equation of calories consumed and calories burned...and it's a heck of a lot easier to reduce consumption than it is to increase burning sufficient to avoid the excess being stored in the form of fat. No one should be pilloried for their appearance but acce putting obesity a a norm does nobody any favours. Listening to people like former fattie Rory as well as academics like Anna is the way to go...and check out the 5/2 diet!

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  9. Paul Hampton-Smith

    logged in via Facebook

    Although there should be no doubt that moderate exercise has a broad range of benefits, I don't think enough emphasis is placed in the quoted research on the obvious link between health and the capacity to stay healthy. How much of the statistics are masked by people who are sadly saddled with an illness, and are therefore both less inclined to exercise and more likely to die (from the illness)?

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  10. Sue Ieraci

    Public hospital clinician

    Wrong question, perhaps. Not ''Can you be healthy at any weight at any point in time?'', but "Can you maintain long-term health at any weight?''

    A heavy smoker can be objectively ''healthy'' before they develop chronic bronchitis, emphysema, vascular disease, lung cancer.

    A morbidly obese person can be healthy before the develop osteoarthritis, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, coronary disease.

    At any point in time, anyone can be ''healthy''. That doesn't mean that risky health behaviour, continued long-term, won't have long-term effects.

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  11. Stephen S Holden

    Associate Professor, Marketing at Bond University

    This conversation reveals that the matter is not nearly as simple as public health authorities like to make out. (On that score, can we dispense with the misleading term 'obesity epidemic' where epidemic more correctly refers to an infectious disease!)

    Thanks for the debate. I greatly appreciate the informed and rational discussion based on reasons rather than righteousness.

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  12. Peter Parry

    Child and adolescent psychiatrist & senior lecturer at University of Queensland

    Isn't the issue the type of fat and where it is distributed?

    At the American Psychiatric Association conference this year there was a very robust presentation about the ills of visceral fat - abdominal obesity. The large adipocytes in the liver and abdominal fat pads are so large in this type of obesity that they strain to get sufficient oxygen for metabolism. In a chronic hypoxic state they go into chronic stress and macrophages invade and churn out cytokines that wreak havoc throughout the…

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    1. Tim Olds

      Professor of Health Sciences at University of South Australia

      In reply to Peter Parry

      Peter makes a good point. Anna Peeters - my antagonist, so to speak - is presenting today on data showing that waist girths are growing faster than BMIs, and the same appears to be true with kids. In other words, we're changing shape, even at the same weight. Abdominal fat has much worse metabolic consequences than fat stored elsewhere. Having said that, it is still quite possible to be abdominally obese and metabolically healthy - if you are fit and active.

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    2. Georgina Byrne
      Georgina Byrne is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer at Farming

      In reply to Tim Olds

      Surely it is better still to avoid abdominal obesity in the first place? I must say that I am completely with Anna on this topic...if being fat, especially via excessive abdominal fat becomes the new normal in acceptance, just as smoking once was, there will be ever more people at the upper end of the scale with the resultant enormous cost both to them and to society as a whole ....which is expected to pick up the costs of abdominal surgery, lap banding et al, quite apart from increased risks of heart failure, diabetes, breast and colon cancer etc. we all have to die of something but it is the quality of life in those last few years which is the most important thing especially to those of closer than further away from the inevitable.

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    3. Peter Parry

      Child and adolescent psychiatrist & senior lecturer at University of Queensland

      In reply to Tim Olds

      Tim,
      Thankyou for responding - and it seems to me to be the main message to get out there.
      Perhaps an article with a big red X over scales and a tick by a tape measure.
      I'm not sure if it would help with eating disorder patients (who have an unhealthy focus on the scales - maybe they'd switch to wanting Scarlet O'Hara waists?) but it would help with people looking at their health.

      Norman Swan's ABC Health Report over recent years has had several calls to ignore the scales in favour of the tape…

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    4. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Peter Parry

      We know that some athletes, bodybuilders etc, or even certain body types like mesomorphs who have naturally higher percentage of muscle often fall into the overweight BMI category, 25+. This is a serious confounder.

      I won't take much notice of such studies until they start to use waist/hip ratio as a measure of excess weight.

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  13. Michael Kennedy
    Michael Kennedy is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Public policy thinker

    What I wonder about in the fat and active arguement is what is the impact of being fat in the first place to being active. If you are fat and exercise of any type is demanding it can be off putting to continue to be active. Has there been any research into that?

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    1. rory robertson

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to rory robertson

      Readers, looking again at historical evidence on the relationship between exercise and weight-loss (see link above), I came across this thought-provoking passage:

      "The one thing that might be said about exercise with certainty is that it tends to makes us hungry. Maybe not immediately, but eventually. Burn more calories and the odds are very good that we’ll consume more as well. And this simple fact alone might explain both the scientific evidence and a nation’s worth of sorely disappointing…

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    2. rory robertson

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to rory robertson

      And how's this for an example of the influential "science" that fuelled our current faulty thinking about food, exercise and obesity: 'Through the sixties, [Harvard heavy-hitter Jean] Mayer documented the relationship between inactivity and the overweight. He noted that fat high-school girls ate “several hundred calories less” than lean classmates. “The laws of thermodynamics were, however, not flouted by this finding,” he wrote, because the obese girls expended less energy than the lean: They were…

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  14. David Arthur

    resistance gnome

    While I can't speak for everybody, I'm not too sure if I could be healthy unless I keep myself within a certain range.

    * If my weight stays above that range, I damage the load-bearing elements of my skeleton, thus adversely affecting my health

    * If my weight stays below that range, it is because I am malnourished, with generally effects dependent on what I'm missing.

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  15. Trent Leins

    Program Officer at State Government

    I have a broad question re weight in general. BMI is used as the standard for normal, overweight, obese etc. In western populations normal is regarded generally a BMI of 20-25.

    Given that studies have shown that low range overweight populations (around 25-27 BMI) have better health outcomes than low range normal populations (around 20-22 BMI) - why isn't the breakdown of normal, overweight etc adjusted to take into account these studies?

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  16. Dave Satterthwaite

    logged in via Facebook

    It's a little surprising that much of the commentary seems to be focused on what people do in the minority of their lives that is their free time.

    The primary issue that should be addressed is the workplace.

    Only a decade or two ago, people would be getting up and moving around - even if it be but metres at a time - to drop off pieces of paper, file documents, walk to the other end of the building to talk to someone.

    Today, a goodly proportion of society spends their entire workday sedentary, with their most dramatic movement being to click 'send' on an email or pick up their mobile.

    That's the issue, but good luck addressing it in a late stage hyper consumer capitalist society driven by economic rationalism.

    Those unburned calories equate to dollars and cents in the pocket of your employer.

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    1. rory robertson

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Dave Satterthwaite

      Dave,

      The interesting thing is that - despite all that inactivity you describe - people still are eating so much. The human body was designed to respond to inactivity by requiring less energy to be consumed, via a reduced appetite. But for many people that obviously hasn't happened. Something has wrecked society's natural appetite controls. It seems pretty obvious that a key factor has been the addition of vast quantities of yummy and somewhat addictive added sugar to our food supply.

      Pulitzer…

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    2. Dave Satterthwaite

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to rory robertson

      Oh I definitely agree. It's the perfect storm of utterly sedentary lifestyles combined with the sugar/carb tsunami.

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  17. Ashlee Betteridge

    Research Officer at Development Policy Centre, ANU

    "If we normalise obesity we’re missing our chance to prevent premature chronic disease for our children, and our children’s children"

    This is the part of the argument I can never understand. I don't believe shaming people and shaming the bodies they move about the world in every day is actually an appropriate response to a problem that is one of diet and exercise. If anything, this body shaming excludes people from participating in healthful activities and for feeling the kind of respect for their…

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    1. Shelby Gull Laird
      Shelby Gull Laird is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Lecturer, School of Environmental Sciences at Charles Sturt University

      In reply to Ashlee Betteridge

      This is a great post, and a real issue for all active people of size. I know I have personally wanted to join a gym for quite a while, but always hesitate because I walk past and notice that I would be the largest person in the room. I want to be comfortable, not feel the stare of eyes upon me as I exercise. Kudos to you for braving it out. I bet you have inspired others more than you know (count me as inspired). :)

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    2. Helen Kinmonth

      PhD Student, Population Health at Australian National University

      In reply to Ashlee Betteridge

      Thanks for your frankness Ashlee. I cannot see how the public health promotion of body shape and size as a target for policy is ethical given our harsh body culture. Your experience of stigma is quite horrible and should be more recognised. As a society Australia has legislated against 'body characteristic' stigma around race, gender, disability and age because the damage that stigma does demeans and belittles us all, not just the victim. Body shape and size should also be off the stigma agenda. The only way to do that is to stop producing policy with an obesity focus and actively fight for body acceptance.

      The more important problems of food and physical activity, especially at the systemic level, have a better chance of reducing chronic disease. Picking on people's bodies takes the heat out of disease-promoting industries and makes life easy for government. It is time, especially for those in public health, to challenge the obesity juggernaut.

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  18. Vrais Le faux

    Make up artist

    Interesting that despite the byline of: "Academic rigour..." I come across sentences like: ...people who are fat but active have a much lower risk of death..."
    A lower risk of death?!?!? Are we discussing immortality here?
    Could someone maybe define the parameters first?

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  19. Marco Dabizzi

    logged in via LinkedIn

    I probably lived in another world, I've never seen a fat centenarian or nonagenarian...

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  20. Jennifer Norton

    statistician, researcher, entrepreneur

    It seems to me this is a much more complex issue than is usually recognised.

    The common way to view weight, fitness and health is as physical issues. Yet so much of it is psychological.
    1/ The stress factor. Most of us these days lead stressful lives. We need two adults working to support a family, buy a house etc. Advertising and gov'ts encourage us to spend, to own etc. to create economic growth. And there are other stresses too, including for children. Yet the stress has its downsides and…

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  21. David A. Trescuri

    Student: Edith Cowan University

    I have to say that I do think it is possible for people who are overweight/obese/morbidly obese to be healthy. As someone who, without equivocation, falls in to the morbidly obese category I can look back on my life and note that it is the periods where I have been inactive, for whatever reason, that have been the most detrimental to my general health. That said, I do think it is not an excuse for people to not address the issues associated with their weight issues. Overall though I think there is benefit in getting, and keeping people active, rather than resorting to extremes to lose weight.

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  22. Marco Dabizzi

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Mmmm... something wrong here.

    I can't read the original article, but the abstract published in the American Journal of Epidemiology says something different from this article.

    "Using survival analysis, we found that people in the overweight stable trajectory had the highest survival rate, followed by those in the overweight obesity, normal weight upward, class I obese upward, normal weight downward, and class II/III obese upward trajectories." (abstract of the original article)

    "So which…

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  23. Abbie Noiraude

    logged in via Facebook

    1 Osteoarthritis is not always due to weight. It has been found in ancient skeletons where they were not fat at all. ( More likely due to genetics since osteo is seen in fingers and wrists etc)

    2 BMI is a furphy. Invented by a mathematician in the mid 1800's when diets were poorer and foods not as nutritious, death much earlier and humans smaller. Babies heads are getting larger, partly due to mother's better diets throughout pregnancy. BMI has no room for consideration of genetics, changes in…

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