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January 14, 2009

Healthy Weight vs. Normal Weight: Who's to Say?

1077713_scale_series_5 I had such a hard time deciding on a post topic this morning.  There are so many good/important things to post about. What finally won was another discussion of Oprah's weight.  

But no salacious comments here. 

The question at hand is not Oprah's up-and-down battle with serious weight loss but the measure by which many of us define success. Is it the government's definition of 'normal,' which is defined by the body mass index?  Or is it a weight at which we feel well, function well, and at which a variety of health parameters (such as blood glucose or cholesterol) tell us we're doing fine?

For a great discussion of this, check out the article by Paul Campos, author of The Obesity Myth, in Rocky Mountain News.

If you can get on board with this, I vote that we all give up talking about our weight (and weighing ourselves -- toss out that scale!).  If we want to talk, let's discuss our healthy lifestyle habits instead.   Positive = Forward.

Posted by Marsha on January 14, 2009 | Permalink



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Comments

That's assuming, Wt Loss Wonder, that you agree with the weight categories as defined by the BMI. Many experts do not, and it is not a matter of being distorted by muscle mass. It is a matter of statistics that show 'overweight' people have a longer life expectancy than 'normal' weight people. Not sure when it happened -- the 80s? -- the government overnight changed the dividing lines between categories of 'normal' weight vs overweight vs obese, and overnight it made a lot of folks suddenly fatter.

Additionally, here's an excerpt from an article that spells things out pretty clearly:

Last week a report in The Archives of Internal Medicine compared weight and cardiovascular risk factors among a representative sample of more than 5,400 adults. The data suggest that half of overweight people and one-third of obese people are “metabolically healthy.” That means that despite their excess pounds, many overweight and obese adults have healthy levels of “good” cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose and other risks for heart disease.

At the same time, about one out of four slim people — those who fall into the “healthy” weight range — actually have at least two cardiovascular risk factors typically associated with obesity, the study showed.

Posted by: marsha | Jan 22, 2009 7:36:33 AM

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