The New York Times now says that fat is the new thin. Well, not really. But they do report on new findings that being "overweight" (i.e., having a body mass index between 25 and 29) is associated with a lower rate of death than being of "normal" weight (i.e., having a BMI of between 20 and 25).
People who are overweight but not obese have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight, federal researchers are reporting today…
The new study, considered by many independent scientists to be the most rigorous yet on the effects of weight, controlled for factors like smoking, age, race and alcohol consumption in a sophisticated analysis derived from a well-known method that has been used to predict cancer risk.
This is good news to me: my BMI is 27, and to get it to "normal" levels I have to lose 15 pounds. I had no idea how I was going to lose that much, what with all those doughnuts lying around the office. But maybe, given these findings, I shouldn’t even try.
In other conventional-wisdom upsetting news, the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption are now in dispute. A glass of wine with dinner used to be considered mildly protective against heart disease. But now…
Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that moderate drinkers tend to be wealthier, better educated, more active and better nourished than non-drinkers and heavy drinkers, and it is these characteristics, rather than the nightly glass of wine, that explains their healthier hearts.
To some extent, this sort of thing makes me want to give up trying to figure out what I should do to stay healthy. It seems just too complicated, and the conventional wisdom from one decade sometimes doesn’t carry over to the next. But that’s probably the wrong response—I should be grateful that researchers are doing the best job they can of untangling some really complicated issues. I just want my beer back (they can keep the donuts).