June 20, 2009

It's more dangerous to be skinny than fat.

We're talking death here, not your social life.


former law student said...

A chubby Japanese person is not all that chubby, by US standards.

Beth said...

Deaths of anorexics seem to bear witness to this idea.

I am a little ashamed to say that in high school, my imaginary punk band was called The Dead Anorexics. I think it was the end of the arc that began with me as a little girl, singing along to the Carpenters, and ended with the darker, sadder truths about Karen Carpenter emerging as I hit my nihilistic teen years. And perhaps it was a way of shrugging off the death of my sister, which was at least partially due to her anorexia.

rhhardin said...

You don't see fat old people in the supermarket. Thin old people turn up all the time.

themightypuck said...

My first thought was that chubby Japanese ain't chubby American but it appears the study was using BMI. My one person review of BMI suggests it is a silly way to gauge obesity. I checked out myself on the BMI calc and to hit underweight would require me to be around 150 lbs. Then lowest weight I've been in the last 20 years was 175 libs and that was after a divorce and I was really, really skinny. I think dropping below 18.5 BMI would suggest impending death.

themightypuck said...

I just realized the biggest problem with BMI. It doesn't have different charts for girls and boys.

Meade said...

The other problem with BMI is it doesn't separate body fat from muscle mass.

The headline should be: It's dangerous to be too fat but being too skinny isn't healthy either.

Wince said...


rhhardin said...

Q. Why is it important not to be too fat or too skinny?

my A. Because too fat is too fat, and too skinny is too skinny.

(adapted from a chemistry 101 exam.)

Once written, twice... said...

I am a six foot tall man of 44 and I have had a weight problem since I can remember. I will spend all day eating everything I can get my hands on and in the evening I step on a scale and I have lost three pounds! Will I ever weigh more than 160?

Cedarford said...

Speaking of fat.....

The Associated Press
Friday, June 19, 2009; 9:40 PM

WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor resigned Friday from an elite all-women's club after Republicans questioned her participation in it. Sotomayor said she resigned from the Belizean Grove to prevent the issue from becoming a distraction in her confirmation hearings.

In a letter to Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the federal appeals court judge said she is convinced that the club does not practice "invidious discrimination" and that her membership in it did not violate judicial ethics.

But she said she didn't want questions about it to "distract anyone from my qualifications and record."

Once written, twice... said...

I should add that I am just glad to see that we are now getting some recognition for OUR plight. Up until now it seemed like people's sympathies was reserved for only the fatties.

(I am now going to eat a cheese burger and drink a milk shake. Ho Um.

Jim said...

Chris -

As a certified personal trainer in a previous life I can tell you that BMI is one of the worst possible metrics.

Take any professional athlete for example, their BMI is going to be off the scale. Muscle weighs 5 times what fat does, so when you do the height vs. weight calculation they look completely obese on the scale. If you have any decent amount of muscle at all, your BMI numbers are going to be completely skewed according to the standard BMI charts.

A far better measure would be body fat percentages. A woman who is fit (but not necessarily by "professional" standards) should be around 20-25% body fat. A man should be somewhere between 10-15%. (Again, these are "average Joe" type fitness numbers - not what would be appropriate for a pro.)

former law student said...

You don't see fat old people in the supermarket.

Maybe your supermarket needs Rascal-brand(TM) mobility scooters.

Beth, I'm sorry about your sister. Was she a dancer, by any chance?

Kirby Olson said...

BMI is complex because at 5'10" and 174 pounds I am at the very top of the normal range. Anything more than that is considered overweight. Over 200 lbs. and you'e considered obese at my height, which means most American men my age (52) are flat out obese.

So the Japanese story needs a little bit more data. What they mean is somebody about 5 pounds over the BMI is ok.

Which means that the BMI which was introduced about 50 years ago by some funny company needs to be checked.

Anorexia is of course not good, but what's considered normal is way out of whack. Heck, I'm just about the thinnest man I know my age, and I'm at the very top of the BMI recommendation for normal.

(I could lose ten pounds, but heck, they recommend that normal for 5'10" should begin at 133!)

Beth said...

fls, thanks. No, she was a nurse.

KCFleming said...

Helluva thing, Beth; naught to say offer but condolenscences. Anorexia is hellish.

The research on the elderly is that the skinny die off sooner than the chubby, but the fat die off before them both.

If an old person who is skinny gets ill, they have no reserves to draw on. It's more complex than that, but that's a clue.

Gray said...

Ok, but pls pls pls don't draw false conclusions from that. Your male fans here don't want you to become the Kirstie Alley of the blogosphere! We would like you to look like a diva, not like a divan!!
(if in doubt, consult your husband)

Beth said...

Thanks, Pogo. I believe no one used that term back in 1972, when we lost my sister. I was 12, so my understanding of things is always going to limited by that perspective. I do know she was too thin - she was 5'7" and weighed just over 90 pounds. She smoked, and was very highstrung, and liked to work hard. She liked the intensity of the ER, and also working with the guys coming home from Vietnam, and would take speed to get up for the day and downers to get to sleep fast, so she could work double-shifts. I've also read that birth-control pills are dangerous in combination with an eating disorder, so that all added up to a heart attack at a young age. The body has to have some reserves, I think.

37 years later and I still do miss her.