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    Thursday, September 09, 2004

    Weighty Matters: Two key studies on obesity settle ... nothing:

    Two influential studies released yesterday offer contradictory results about the importance of obesity and exercise for health.

    ...Both sides of the dispute will find new evidence to support their views in the studies. "This is a fiercely debated topic," said Steven Blair, president and chief executive of The Cooper Institute, a Dallas-based center that studies living habits and health. "There are very prominent people on both sides of the issue.

    The two studies aren't really contradictory. The study that says weight doesn't matter but exercise does, looked at the relationship between weight, exercise and heart disease:

    Overweight women were more likely than normal weight women to have CAD risk factors, but neither BMI nor abdominal obesity measures were significantly associated with obstructive CAD [cornary artery disease - ed.] or adverse CV [cardiovascular - ed.] events after adjusting for other risk factors (P = .05 to .88). Conversely, women with lower DASI [a measure of physical activity] scores were significantly more likely to have CAD risk factors and obstructive CAD (44% vs 26%) at baseline, and each 1-MET increase in DASI score was independently associated with an 8% decrease in risk of major adverse CV events during follow-up.

    The study that says weight matters more than exercise looked at the relationship between weight, exercise and diabetes. (Here it should be noted that the inactive were also more predisposed to diabetes than the active. They just found that weight had a stronger correlation than activity.)

    The two studies were measuring two different diseases. You can't compare them and say that they're contradictory. That's like saying that because cigarette smoking increases the risk of heart disease but not of diabetes, the effects of smoking on your health are controversial. Of course, there's this confusion about obesity only because the CDC and the HHS has made a campaign of blaming obesity for every ill imaginable - from diabetes to cancer to heart failure. Clearly, it's an important factor in diabetes. It isn't such a clear cut factor in other diseases.

    posted by Sydney on 9/09/2004 08:03:00 AM 0 comments


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