(PRWEB) April 22, 2005
University of Virginia exercise physiologist Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., challenges conventional wisdom on body weight and health, uncovering substantial scientific evidence to show that when it comes to fat, both the American public and the national scientific community have been working under false assumptions and self-perpetuating myths. What a blow to conventional wisdom and current medical dogma, to say nothing of the negative impact this might have on the unscrupulous multibillion-dollar-per-year weight loss industry. Our culture may worship thinness, but there certainly is no medical justification to do so.
"Americans have been deceived by those with a stake in the $30-plus billion-per-year weight-loss industry," says Gaesser. "The health risks of being overweight as well as the health benefits of weight loss have been exaggerated."
Obesity is commonly cited as the cause of numerous life-threatening diseases and disorders, including diabetes, heart disease and clogged arteries. According to Gaesser, these assertions, along with the frequently cited "phantom statistic" of 300,000 premature deaths per year caused by excessive weight, are not substantiated.
Not only is there insufficient evidence for the connection, says Gaesser, but also many studies have suggested just the opposite. For example, a large-scale 1998 study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed that among African Americans, the optimal body-mass-index (BMI) for longevity appears to be in the overweight range. Even among whites the data did not support the widely held belief that thin men and women live longest. Among older Americans, thinness is a more serious health problem than packing extra pounds.
While Gaesser may be bucking a trend in challenging the popular notions about body fat, many health professionals are beginning share his caveat: it may be OK to be fat if you are also fit. "Fat men and women who are physically fit and exercise regularly outlive thin men and women who are unfit and sedentary, and studies repeatedly show that it is easier to get a fat person fit than it is to get a fat person thin," he asserts.
Perhaps the most harmful aspect of the misinformation Gaesser sees perpetuated in popular press and advertising is the increase in unhealthy fad dieting. He is particularly concerned by the extreme strategies of regimes like those that profess to burn fat quickly, which has been shown by many opponents to have negative long-term health impact. "Chronic efforts at weight loss may be responsible for more deaths than 'excess weight' itself," he says.
With an abundance of new research to bolster his challenges, Gaesser hopes to reach the millions of Americans who may have heard the buzz about his work but who have not yet heard him in person or read his ground-breaking book, "Big Fat Lies: The Truth About Your Weight and Your Health" (Gurze, 2002).
Listen in to the dynamic interview with Glenn Gaesser on the "Size Matters, Too" radio show http://www.sizematterstoo.com regarding this compelling topic with your host, the Velvet Voice of Size Diversity, Veronica Cook-Euell 24/7 the week of April 24th and the week of May 1, 2005. This show is made possible by WCRS Radio, Akron,Ohio.
Bonus-- Paul Campos also weighs in: A major new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms the contrarian thesis put forth in University of Colorado professor Paul Campos' book "The Diet Myth: Why America's Obsession with Weight is Hazardous to Your Health" (Gotham/PenguinUSA).
The data from the new study underlines the central contention of Professor Campos' book: that the so-called "overweight" category, which contains most Americans who the government claims weigh "too much," is scientifically baseless and socially destructive, and should be abandoned immediately. "Given that Americans are enjoying longer lives and better health than ever before, the claim that four out of five of us are running serious health risks because of our weight sounds exactly like the sort of exaggeration that can produce a cultural epidemic of fear," Campos argues. (read the entire article attached "New JAMA Study Confirms CU Law Prof's Controversial Thesis."
As part of the special bonus, you will also be able to tune in to an interview with Paul Campos during the week of April 24, 2005. Free of Charge on the Size Matters, Too radio show with your host, the Velvet Voice of Size Diversity, Veronica Cook-Euell at sizematterstoo.com. "Size Matters, Too" focuses on body size acceptance, body image as well as many issues relating to empowering women of size. "We help people love themselves and the bodies they're in; and we help employers embrace the size diversity in their employees."
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