OBESITY ILLS ARE A 'MYTH'
A new study suggests people who are obese suffer no adverse health effects until they turn 40
Sunday May 30,2010
By Lucy Johnston
ACCEPTED medical wisdom that overweight people are more susceptible to diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure is a myth, a shock new report suggests.
Even people who are obese suffer no adverse health effects until they turn 40. The research flies in the face of Government attempts to combat the so-called “obesity timebomb”, which it has been claimed will lead to a generation of youngsters dying before their parents.
The new study has led to calls to curb our obsession with dieting. Brant Jarrett, of Ohio State University, one of the researchers, said: “There is a myth going on. Our findings show being overweight is no different from being what we believe is a healthy weight and this is across a person’s entire lifespan.
“Don’t worry if you are overweight. What is all that stress and dieting doing to your body? Probably more damage than the extra 15lb.
“Being obese before you are 40 has no correlation to your health either. The risk that people are told about does not exist.”
The report, published in the International Journal of Obesity, shows that between the ages of 25 and 70 there is little difference in the health of normal compared with overweight people based on the amount of medication they are taking.
The study also examined the relationship between body mass index and illness and found those defined as obese, with a BMI of 30 or above, had no more health problems than those who were a “healthy” weight if they were under 40. Researchers did find obesity was associated with an increase in medication use among adults aged 40 to 70.
Dr Malcolm Kendrick, author of the Great Cholesterol Con and a specialist in cardiovascular *disease and weight, said: “This study confirms a lot of other research showing essentially that most people considered obese are at no increased risk of death.
“Overweight and obese people are being frightened into thinking they are ill and they are not.”
He added: “There is no doubt gross obesity clearly damages health, but the risk does not occur at the levels people are being told.”
The researchers examined the health and weight of nearly 18,000 US men and women in selected years between 1988 and 2006.
To identify the levels of illness, they examined the use of prescribed medications, ruling out drugs typically used to treat mental rather than physical *ailments.
Professor Philip James, a world expert on obesity and president of the International Obesity Taskforce, last night questioned the research. “This is an odd finding and conflicts with a wealth of other studies,” he said.