The following are from a viewpoint regarding Clinical Guidelines on
the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults
issued by the National Institutes of Health in 1998:
- The scientific evidence is clear that increasing body weight and mortality are related,
especially at very high weights. However, a comprehensive review of epidemiological
studies does not support the commonly held notion that weight loss leads to improved
health and increased longevity.
- Studies report obese men and women can significantly improve several measurements of
health and well being by changing diet and exercise habits with little, if any change in
body weight. Changes include significant reduction in blood pressure and serum lipids, and
improved insulin and glucose levels.
- Lower risk of mortality has been positively associated with fitness. The connection
between lower risk of mortality and fitness is much stronger than the connection between
lower mortality and fatness. In fact, once fitness is considered, the correlation between
premature death and fatness may disappear. Low-fit, non-obese men were three times more
likely to die young than fatter men who exercised regularly.
- Encouraging weight loss through dieting is not likely to be effective, and weight loss
may not be the answer to the question "How can fat people be healthy?"
- The authors of the article advocate size acceptance and urge the pursuit of health and
happiness. Slenderness can not be viewed as a prerequisite for these goals.
Source: Herrin M, Parham E, Ikeda J, White A, Branen L. Alternative viewpoint on
National Institutes of Health Clinical Guidelines. Journal of Nutrition Education.
Compiled by Betty Holmes, MS, RD
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