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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Go ahead, clean your plate

The New York Times, today: "Some Extra Heft May Be Helpful, New Study Says."
People who are overweight but not obese have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight, federal researchers are reporting today.

The researchers - statisticians and epidemiologists from the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - also found that increased risk of death from obesity was seen for the most part in the extremely obese, a group constituting only 8 percent of Americans.
The methodology looks fine (and it was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association):
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...

Some statisticians and epidemiologists said that the study's methods and data were exemplary and that the authors - Dr. Williamson and Dr. Katherine M. Flegal of the disease control centers, and Dr. Barry I. Graubard and Dr. Mitchell H. Gail of the cancer institute - were experienced and highly regarded scientists.
The study didn't consider disease and disability, only death, and some scientists are skeptical about the findings. It may be that the results reflect improvements in medications for high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Oops, it's almost lunch time...

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