WIN Wyoming and WIN the Rockies
The Truth About Your Weight and Your Health
I recently read Glenn Gaesserís book, Big Fat Lies - The
Truth about Your Weight and Your Health. I love the humor
incorporated into the book. Hereís a couple of examples:
J Dr. Gaesser documents more than
20 studies over the last 20 years that show weight loss (either
intentional or unintentional) actually increases
the risk of premature death. Of the few studies finding longer life
with weight loss, one documents an 11-hour increase in longevity per
pound of weight lost. Gaesser observes that results from this study
suggest a person would have to lose 796 pounds to gain an additional
year of life.
J Another section of the book
advocates physical activity for health and fitness, not for a method
of weight loss. According to a CDC study, 44% of U.S. women want to
lose 25 pounds. That would require about a 1,100 mile walk - or
walking the distance from New York City to Orlando. Dr. Gaesser
states itís easy to understand why most people quit before getting
Humor aside, this book offers a serious message about the myths
surrounding body weight. We can no longer continue to give so much
power to the bathroom scale.
- When it comes to weight and health, Americans have been
deceived. A large woman dreads going to see the doctor, and
switching doctors doesnít help. The message is always the
same: lose weight. And so the woman diets, loses weight, gains
it back, and the cycle continues. The cycle almost always ends
in defeat, and the women becomes "less of a person every
- Dr. Gaesser argues that the "roads to good health are
wide enough for everyone." Our focus should be on physical
activity and healthy eating, not on weight. The research
evidence cited in the book suggests to Dr. Gaesser that each
personís natural healthy weight is unique to him or her and
will not be found in any table.
- Fear of fat has more to do with vanity than it does with
health. Most people want to lose weight because they view body
fat as unsightly.
- The average American is fatter now than at any other time in
history. Based on CDC data, Americans lose roughly one billion
pounds a year. Unfortunately, the total weight gain each year is
about a billion pounds - and then some. The evidence is clear,
even if often ignored; dieting is not the answer. The only real
winner in this battle is the weight-loss industry.
- Continued emphasis on BMI and weight tables may be having some
harmful and unwanted consequences. People who fall within normal
weight categories may continue unhealthy lifestyles out of a
false sense of security.
- There can be no meaningful statement about health and body fat
unless the location of the body fat is taken into account. Even
then, body shape and placement of body fat appear to take a back
seat to lifestyle.
Source: Big Fat Lies - The Truth about Your Weight and Your
Health, updated edition. Glenn A. Gaesser. Carlsbad, CA.
Gurze Books, 2002. ISBN 0-936077-42-5
Compiled by Betty Holmes, MS, RD
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