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Cause of Death--Bodyweight.

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 11:03 am
by Kenny Croxdale
Here's an article that I found interesting. Evidently, those underweight and obese are more likely to have health problems.

Being slightly overweight is a bit healthier.

Kenny Croxdale

Causes of Death Are Linked to a Person’s Weight

About two years ago, a group of federal researchers reported that overweight people have a lower death rate than people who are normal weight, underweight or obese. Now, investigating further, they found out which diseases are more likely to lead to death in each weight group.

Linking, for the first time, causes of death to specific weights, they report that overweight people have a lower death rate because they are much less likely to die from a grab bag of diseases that includes Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, infections and lung disease. And that lower risk is not counteracted by increased risks of dying from any other disease, including cancer, diabetes or heart disease.

As a consequence, the group from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute reports, there were more than 100,000 fewer deaths among the overweight in 2004, the most recent year for which data were available, than would have expected if those people had been of normal weight.

Their paper is published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers also confirmed that obese people and people whose weights are below normal have higher death rates than people of normal weight. But, when they asked why, they found that the reasons were different for the different weight categories.

Some who studied the relation between weight and health said the nation might want to reconsider what are ideal weights.

“If we use the criteria of mortality, then the term ‘overweight’ is a misnomer,” said Daniel McGee, professor of statistics at Florida State University.

“I believe the data,” said Dr. Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego. A body mass index of 25 to 30, the so-called overweight range, “may be optimal,” she said.

Others said there were plenty of reasons that being overweight was not desirable.

“Health extends far beyond mortality rates,” said Dr. JoAnn Manson, chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Dr. Manson added that other studies, including ones at Harvard, found that being obese or overweight increased a person’s risk for any of a number of diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and several forms of cancer. And, she added, excess weight makes it more difficult to move about and impairs the quality of life.

“That’s the big picture in terms of health outcomes,” Dr. Manson said. “That’s what the public needs to look at.”

Researchers generally divide weight into four categories — normal, underweight, overweight and obese — based on the body mass index, which is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. A woman who is 5 foot 4, for instance, would be considered at normal weight at 130, underweight at 107 pounds, overweight at 150 pounds and obese at 180.

In this study, those with normal weight were considered the baseline and others were compared to them.

The federal researchers, led by Katherine Flegal, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the big picture they found was surprisingly complex. The higher death rate in obese people, as might be expected, was almost entirely driven by a higher death rate from heart disease.

But, contrary to expectations, the obese did not have an increased risk of dying from cancer. They were slightly more likely than people of normal weights to die of a handful of cancers that are thought to be related to excess weight — cancers of the colon, breast, esophagus, uterus, ovary, kidney and pancreas. Yet they had a lower risk of dying from other cancers, including lung cancer. In the end, the increases and decreases in cancer risks balanced out.

As for diabetes, it showed up in the death rates only when the researchers grouped diabetes and kidney disease as one category. Diabetes can cause kidney disease, they note. But, the researchers point out, the number of diabetes deaths may be too low because many people with diabetes die from heart disease, and often the cause of death is listed as a heart attack.

The diverse collection of diseases other than cancer, heart disease and diabetes, which show up in the analyses of the underweight and the overweight, have gone relatively unscrutinized among epidemiologists, noted Dr. Mitchell Gail, a cancer institute scientist and an author of the paper. But, Dr. Gail added, “these are not a negligible source of mortality.”

The new study began several years ago when the investigators used national data to look at death risks according to body weight. They concluded that, compared with people of normal weight, the overweight had a decreased death risk and the underweight and obese had increased risk.

That led them to ask if being fat or thin affects a person’s life span, what diseases, exactly, are those individuals at risk for, or protected from?

The research involved analyzing data from three large national surveys, the National Health and Nutrition surveys, which are administered by the National Center for Health Statistics. Their participants are a nationally representative group of Americans who are weighed and measured, assuring that heights and weights are accurate, and followed until death. The investigators determined the causes of death by asking what was recorded on death certificates.

The researchers caution that a study like theirs cannot speak to cause and effect. They do not yet know, precisely, what it is about being underweight, for instance, that increases the death rate from everything except heart disease and cancer. Researchers tried to rule out those who were thin, because they might have been already sick. They also ruled out smokers, and the results did not change.

Dr. Gail, though, had some advice, which, he said, is his personal opinion as a physician and researcher: “If you are in the pink and feeling well and getting a good amount of exercise and if your doctor is very happy with your lab values and other test results, then I am not sure there is any urgency to change your weight.”

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 4:45 pm
by tyler
I think people need to clearly define underweight and normal. I've always thought that...underweight is not healthy. It doesn't look more attractive either, especially on men (but I guess men don't worry as much). Of course, I'm probably considered overweight if I just weighed myself (seeingas how I am 6 ft and weigh 180), but if you too BMI into account I'd be normal. Alot of those studies need to focus on people with some muscle mass too...cause I think that would probably have the same benefit as the people who were overweight with fat instead.

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 9:06 am
by Kenny Croxdale
tyler wrote:I think people need to clearly define underweight and normal.
That is a good point.
I've always thought that...underweight is not healthy. It doesn't look more attractive either, especially on men (but I guess men don't worry as much).
I don't believe being underweight looks good on a woman either. The emaciated look of women who are so think you can count their bones is not attractive.
Of course, I'm probably considered overweight if I just weighed myself (seeingas how I am 6 ft and weigh 180), but if you too BMI into account I'd be normal.
The BMI is not a very good method of measuring obesity. May athletes would be considered obese with the BMI.

Kenny Croxdale

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 12:18 pm
by VoK
I recently came back from a doctor's visit and according to "the charts" I am considered "overweight" for my height (5'7", 152lbs).

I believe it's complete bunk and if the study is based on a chart similar to this, I'm not sure what to make of the results.
If you saw me in person, I think "overweight" would be one of the last things you'd think about. If anything, at this moment, I'd consider myself emaciated as I've lost a couple pounds after doing a tour of europe for 3 months and I haven't been eating as much as I normally do.
Maybe I'm a special case but I doubt it.

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 1:29 pm
by ironmaiden708
I went to the doctor and she didn't complain about my weight. Even though I am off the charts in terms of weight she didnt care because it was all muscle mass.

I think it would be good for doctors to look at the charts but as well observe the appearance of people. Give you an idea 5' 8" 192 lbs @ 12% BF w/ a BMI 29.2, which means my body fat if it was done by looking at the charts would be around 24-25% and my ideal weight would be at about 160 lbs. Any charts which standardize the general population bf%, bmi, hip/waist, etc is terrible in terms of accuarcy for athletes and even some moderately active people.

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 4:28 pm
by stuward
BMI is a statistic that can predict the general health of a population. It is not relevant for individuals mainly because it does take into account of people who exercise. When looking at populations you can make a general assumption that a similar percentage of each population exercise so the populations are comparable. The assumption is not true but that's the theory.

Most doctors just use BMI as an initial guide and as long as your waist size is reasonable they don't worry too much.

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 7:35 pm
by Matt Z
Height weight charts are pretty much useless. For example, my friend Mike and I are roughly the same height (he's actually slightly taller). We're both perfectly healthy, and yet I outweigh him by over a hundred pounds.

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 8:38 pm
by tyler
Matt Z wrote:Height weight charts are pretty much useless. For example, my friend Mike and I are roughly the same height (he's actually slightly taller). We're both perfectly healthy, and yet I outweigh him by over a hundred pounds.
A hundred pounds? Man...u must be a beast!

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 9:29 pm
by Matt Z
Yeah, and Mike's pretty skinny. Really we're at completely opposite ends of the spectrum. He's very thin and fine boned and I'm built like a Neanderthal. Based on height-weight charts he would probably be considered underweight, while I'm classified as grade "2 obesity" (37.2 BMI). However, in reality he's just plain thin, not unhealthy, while I'm only slightly overweight.

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 9:33 pm
by Matt Z
Of course, if I weighed what Mike weights I'd look like a walking skeleton. Meanwhile, if Mike had as much muscle mass as I do, on his smaller frame, he'd look enormous.

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 10:09 pm
by ironmaiden708
Matt, what is your height and weight if you don't mind me asking thats crazy that you outweight someone buy 100 lbs. But now that I think about it I have a friend who is the same height that I outweigh by 60 lbs.

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:27 am
by Matt Z
I'm about 5'6" tall and weight between 225 and 230 lbs. My friend is about 5'7" and at most 120 lbs.

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:49 am
by pdellorto
Matt Z - that explains why you lift so much more than me, but don't weight your chin/pullups as heavy as I do. You're just about chinning more net weight even without adding any iron. :D

I'm 6'4" and about 181. Geez....I'd be a beast if I had 45 more pounds of muscle.

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:41 am
by Matt Z
Chin-ups have always been pretty difficult for me, while Parallel Bar Dips are much easier for some reason (athough I don't do them very often). Even after Bench Presses and Inclines I can crank out at least 10 or 12 bodyweight dips.