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04/30/05 - The Dangers of Obesity

We couldn't help noticing the fuss over that new scientific paper that supposedly downplays the risks of obesity. If you get your scientific news from the newspapers or television, you might think that fatter is better. We poked around for a few minutes on Google and found the abstract of the paper by Flegal, Graubard, Williamson and Gail which analyzes the relative risks of obesity from three large scale studies. Their conclusion:

In other words, we are now better at treating heart disease, so that being fat is less likely to kill you than thirty years ago. The first of the three studies they used ran from 1971 to 1975, the second from 1976 to 1980. Medicare was introduced in 1965, so it is likely that Medicare has successfully reduced the risks of being overweight. Of course, it's an uphill battle, since obesity has been on the climb since the 1970s.

Keywords: science