When it comes to weight and health, our society has a tendency to get a little bit of information and then jump to conclusions that only seem obvious based on our stereotypes and myths about weight and health. Let’s look at some examples:
According to studies from the Albert Einstein School of Medicine, about 50% of overweight people and 30% of obese people are metabolically healthy. These fat healthy people are called a “paradox” and are ignored in discussions about health and weight. According to basically every weight loss study since 1959, about 5% of people successfully maintain weight loss (and there is no guarantee that they are healthy). They are seen as proof that weight loss works, as successes, and great effort is being made to study them to see how to make us all thin. So we ignore 50% and 30% to study 5%.
There are all kinds of articles out talking about a study that found that fat doctors don’t talk to their patients about their weight (thanks to reader Lyn for sending this along). Everyone jumps to the conclusion that this is a bad thing and that the doctors aren’t discussing weight loss because they are embarrassed of their size. But what about the possibility that these doctors are living the abysmal success rate of weight loss. Consider that doctors who don’t recommend weight loss are the only ones who are practicing evidence-based medicine. You see, when it comes to weight loss there is not a shred of evidence that would lead those doctors who are pushing it to believe that it would work. But hey, let’s jump to conclusions and criticize fat doctors for not giving people a prescription that fails 95% of the time?
Another one we hear a lot is how many fat people have type 2 diabetes. What they don’t tell you is that doctors test fat people early and often for diabetes based on diagnostic criteria that have been recently lowered. On the other side, thin people are not tested until they have severe symptoms and some doctors even mistakenly think that it’s not possible for thin people to get type 2 diabetes. So, if Group A gets tested for a health issue very earlier and very often, and group B doesn’t get tested unless they have severe advanced symptoms, how is it news that more people in group A are diagnosed with the health issues.
We have to rise above “everybody knows” and the way to do that is to question the status quo (in the wise words of Dr. Horrible, “the status is not…quo.”) The thing that makes great thinkers great is their ability to look at the world with a fresh eye. We all have capability to do that – to look at the evidence and consider everything that it might be suggesting rather than just jumping to conclusions.
This blog is supported by its readers rather than corporate ads. If you feel that you get value out of the blog, can afford it, and want to support my work and activism, please consider a paid subscription or a one-time contribution. The regular e-mail subscription (available at the top right-hand side of this page) is still completely free. Thanks for reading! ~Ragen