Sunday, July 30, 2006

Yet another obesity news item

Woke up late [for me] this morning. The next several days will be unusually busy; knowing there's a lot on my plate, so to speak, sometimes interferes with my sleep. Last night? Not so much. Slept from 10 to 7.

I get a daily news alert from Google on stories concerning obesity. I don't read them very often, but did take a look at this one this morning, titled "Obesity: Tougher on Women's Health."

There's not much detail in the article, which ends up being rather inconclusive. According to Columbia University's Dr. Peter Muennig,
"… women suffer a disproportionate burden of disease attributable to overweight and obesity, mostly because of differences in health-related quality of life."
But the WebMD article concludes: "The study doesn't suggest all overweight women are headed for health problems. Not everyone who's overweight is unhealthy. And being lean doesn't guarantee good health."

So I went searching for the article. Here's the abstract. [You have to be a subscriber to get the full text.] It didn't tell me much more. But CNN offers a more detailed interpretation of the study, including this from Dr. Muennig:
"To me what makes more sense is that there's just a lot more social stigma associated with being overweight amongst females, and that that causes a lot more stress and distress," Muennig said. "There's evidence showing that high levels of stress can increase your risk of morbidity and mortality."

"The findings provide evidence, he added, that "the message that women are getting in the mass media about their weight is actually more harmful than we previously thought."
Here's a thought: Maybe the mass media should quit offering so much information about obesity. Better yet, maybe women should quit listening to mass media. [I think this means I might have to quit watching The Biggest Loser.]

We women traditionally are nurturers, but we usually are nurturing others. If we could somehow teach our daughters and granddaughters that it's okay to care for ourselves first, that physical play is fun for life, and that fresh food tastes better than fast food, obesity levels in the next generation or two would drop while self-esteem would rise.

And if we could teach those things without mentioning body size, how much better would that be?

But the best? Let's lead by example. My mother didn't do a very good job, nor have I. My daughter seems to be breaking that chain. And I'm not done yet.


Greta said...

The medical community used to say (in the early 20th century) that stress causes ovarian cancer. They used to say that stress causes ulcers until very recently when they discovered a bacteria is the cause. That's why I don't take it seriously when a doctor says that the stress of hearing news about obesity causes disease. Doesn't strike me as likely. What about transfats? high fructose corn syrup? deep-fat fried food? preservatives? pesticides?

I have always thought that men get along better being obese because they are stronger and are not as disabled in carrying an excess of weight. My 325 pound sister can barely walk but her 400 pound husband walks just fine. I think he has stronger muscles and stroner bones to begin with so just can manage the weight better.

Andrea said...

I've been reading your blog for some time and have been enjoying it.
After reading this post, I suggest you (and everyone) read the book “Fat Politics: The Real Story behind America's Obesity Epidemic” by J. Eric Oliver. It is a real eye-opener about all the studies and "facts" that get thrown around about obesity and health. While I am still trying to lose weight (maintaining a 115+ weight loss), this book has made me a lot more realistic about it.

Debbi said...

Thanks for reading, Andrea. I've read "Fat Politics" -- very good "food" for thought, and something I did think about mentioning in my post. But I thought I was getting a little long-winded. Sometimes I don't know when to shut up!