Saturday, July 18, 2009

Obesity Cannot Be Blamed for Bad Health?

Obesity or overweight has long been linked to medical disorders like diabetes that could eventually lead to heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, or kidney disease. Evidence also showed that certain types of cancer are associated with weight gain.

The evidence linking obesity to diabetes and cardiovascular disease is very strong and it is known that Type-2 diabetes seldom occurs in people who are not obese or overweight.

Based on the standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO), a person who has a body mass index (BMI) of above 25 is considered overweight and those with BMI exceeding 30 are obese. BMI is defined as weight in kilos divided by the square of height in meters.

However, not all health experts agree on the arguments mentioned above. Instead, a minority of health experts, who are termed as the obesity contrarians, argue that there is no data proving why being fat would be dangerous. To them, being obese is not as severe a threat as is thought. They felt that the obesity epidemic has been absolutely been exaggerated.

A political science professor even claimed that there is no good causal connection between obesity and bad health. According to his opinion, blaming obesity for diabetes and heart attacks is like blaming lung cancer on bad health rather than on smoking. He explained that since other factors such as diet, exercise or genetic predispositions towards diseases are harder to measure than weight.

Other skeptics also criticize the over-projection on the rise in obesity. For example, the British government warns that nearly half of the Britain’s population will be obese by 2050. The skeptics believe that these projections are not based on good evidence because those who are obese are often lumped together with those who are overweight. To them, people, who are overweight, may be perfectly healthy.

It is true that people, who are thin, can get diabetes, hypertension, stroke and even heart disease while people, who are fat, are apparently healthy. Nevertheless, until health experts could derive sound evidence to prove that obesity is definitely bad for health, there will still be some obesity contrarians out there to advocate otherwise.

What do you think?


  1. I agree that weight is not an indicator of a person's true health. It is common knowledge that obese people are more prone to negative conditions and diseases. But the question to ask is, is common knowledge true? A massive info. gathering must be done in order to answer this.

    The fact remains that the practice of medicine should be done on a case to case basis or customized to that of a patient. Statistics and assumptions are great to make doctor's works faster, but they are not to be taken as truths.

  2. I don’t know if BMI is always a correct measurement for obesity as the bone marrow also has a role to play in your weight. Either way, there is no room for doubt that obesity causes serious health concern.

    I do not deny that thin people also get diabetes, cancer or hyper tension, but this cannot nullify the fact that obese people are more prone to these surprises.

    Beyond everything it is also posing threat to health insurers, as obese people are costlier than a person with normal weight.