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Science News: Healthiest weight just might be ‘overweight’

In Healthiest weight just might be ‘overweight’, Science News reports:

As a group, overweight people are living the longest nowadays, suggests an almost four-decade study in Denmark published May 10 in JAMA. And obese people seem to be at no higher risk of dying than those of normal weight. The new analysis fuels ongoing debate about what’s a healthy body mass index — especially in light of rising obesity rates (SN: 5/14/16, p. 5), improved heart health treatments and other factors influencing health and longevity.

... The findings underscore the idea that a person’s BMI does not tell the whole story. While this measure is good for comparing populations, it is not as useful for evaluating individuals and their risk for disease and death, Ahima says. Interpreting an individual’s BMI depends on many other factors, including “whether you are man or woman, how much muscle you have, how physically fit you are and what diseases you have.”

Well, IMO BMI is junk science and malpractice if it in any way makes recommendations for individuals. So its good to (finally!) see several caveats to that point in that article (2nd para above). BMI may be statistically valid in some general sense for epidemiology (has this been validated for years?!), but wildlly inaccurate for many indidividuals. To even suggest that BMI is appropriate for evaluating an individual’s health is laziness bordering on malpractice: one can learn more by viewing a person’s semi-naked body than with BMI. Heck, holding breath in a swimming pool tells you a lot more about body composition! And a DEXA scan actually provides valid data for an individual.

The article above makes no reference to data validation of BMI against bone density, muscle mass, clothes on or off, time of day weighing, etc. It used Danes who might on average have higher bone density or muscle mass due to heridity or other factors. Nor does it mention any statistically valid sampling validation via DEXA. It seems to assume BMI as valid statistically, but based on what and when? It’s a huge flaw given that the article claims that a shift in “healthy” BMI has occurred. Where is the statistical validation via something like DEXA?

Finally, who says that “health” equates to the longest lifetime? That in itself is scientifically unsound and arbitrary. It might, for example, be that people with more body fat live on in in the face of pain or suffering longer (on average) because their body fat extends their lifespan in the face of difficulty eating! It’s just crazy to say that 'healthy = lifespan'.

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