Norwescon

Feb. 15th, 2013 11:53 am
jenk: Faye (JenBlue)
I am a panelist this year. Also, once again [livejournal.com profile] solarbird the music supervillain will have her own tech crew for the music track helmed by [livejournal.com profile] skydancer and [livejournal.com profile] tanuki_green and occasionally me. So, fun!

But, of course, Norwescon is big! Where will I be? Subject to change, of course, but here's the basic list:

Invisible Disabilities Thursday 4:00pm-5:00pm Cascade 8
Read more... )

5:30pm: Move sound gear from my room in the tower to Evergreen rooms. If you want to help, let me know ahead of time and I will text you the room number when I know it.

Thursday night concerts!
But I won't be there the whole time due to my 9pm panel! [livejournal.com profile] tanuki_green will be there!
Read more... )

Size Acceptance Is For Everybody Thursday 9:00pm-10:00pm Cascade 8
Read more... )

Polyamory 101 Friday Noon-1:00pm Evergreen 1&2
Read more... )

Music tech crew Concerts Friday 2pm-midnight
I am blocking off 2pm-midnight due to setup/teardown etc. Concerts start at 3pm in Grand 3 and move to Evergreen rooms for the evening.
Read more... )

The Continuing Impact of Robert Heinlein Saturday 2:00pm-3:00pm Cascade 8
Read more... )

Music tech crew Concerts Saturday 5pm-1am
I am blocking off 5pm-1am due to setup/teardown etc. Concerts start at 7pm.
Read more... )

Intro to Health At Every Size Sunday 1:00pm-2:00pm Cascade 2
Read more... )

Women's Work Sunday 3:00pm-4:00pm Cascade 3&4
Read more... )

...and sometime Sunday sound gear will get moved from the Evergreen level to [livejournal.com profile] skydancer's van. Again, let me know if you want to help. Have I mentioned I'm taking Monday off work? I'm taking Monday off work. :D
jenk: Faye (read)
DeVita and Timor Hortobágyi found that a person who weighs twice as much as another experiences no greater torque in the knees when both walk at the same, reasonable speed. When the obese volunteers were allowed to walk at a slower speed, which they found more comfortable, they exerted even less force on their knees than people in the other group did at the faster pace. Greater force on the knee had previously been presumed to explain why obese people are susceptible to osteoarthritis in that joint.

Furthermore, DeVita and Hortobágyi reported in 2003, obese volunteers walked with shorter strides and straighter knees than did other people. Those behaviors reduce certain stresses on the joint, DeVita says. - Science News
Article abstract here

"Diabulimia" came up in conversation - Insulin-dependent diabetics skipping insulin to lose weight. (I was tired enough I wasn't making too much sense, but hey, I found the article I mentioned ;)

And if you've heard the one about how "The average person walking half an hour a day would lose about 13 pounds a year", a study had sedentary folks start exercising an HOUR a day, 6 days a week for a year. So they'd lose, what, more than 13 pounds on average, right? Nope. The women lost an average of 3 pounds and the men an average of 4 pounds. Both groups appear to have gained muscle, since they lost a bit more in total fat than in overall weight. The average fat loss was 4lb for women, 6.6lb for men ... which is still less than the 13 pounds they're "supposed" to lose if they'd walked 30 minutes a day. So, er, how's that again?
jenk: Faye (YogaTriangle)
Sky News reports that a British survey showed that 53% can't touch their toes and a quarter of the women can't do up their bra. The survey was carried out by the LA Fitness gym chain* and included questions about running, sit-ups, and other exercise as well.

But it's the choice of headline that made me wonder. Too fat to touch their toes? Or too inflexible? Perhaps too arthritic. Or too many past back or joint injuries. But I seriously doubt that it's the fat itself that is causing the problem.

See, I am very fat. I am the sort of fat most people simply can't become - they don't have the genes. I weigh damn close to 400lbs; my measurements are 59-57-68, and yes, that's inches.

And guess what?
  • I can touch my toes. It's easy - sit cross-legged. :)
  • I can also stand up, bend over, and touch my toes. I can also touch my toes while seated, or while one foot is on the back of the couch.
  • I do 20-30 stomach crunches and cobra a few times a week.
  • Yes, I do and undo my bra the traditional way - hands behind my back.
I do not claim to be in perfect health. Walking a mile is a good workout for me, which is why I do it every few days. My balance isn't what I want it to be, which is why I do yoga and squats. I also can't do the yoga pose in my icon. And yeah, it's a bit scary to reveal the things I can't do here.

But it's not that I'm too fat. It's that I'm not strong / balanced / flexible enough. So I'm working on it.

*Yes, I have no reason to believe these numbers are accurate.
jenk: Faye (DontKnowSoResearch)
I cannot believe that the daily rag made this their headline.

The New England Journal of Medicine has made the original article available here. A few things I thought interesting...
  • During the study, participants were asked to name a "close friend" who would have their address should the researchers have trouble contacting them. This was the basis for the "close friends" connections in the computer model.

  • The increased correlation of obesity between friends? Is actually between men friends. The paper states that the correlations between female-female and mixed-sex friends were "not significant".

  • According to the NY Times, researchers stated that their calculations showed that on average, "a person who became obese gained 17 pounds and the newly obese person’s friend gained five". When you think "became obese", do you think, "gained 17 pounds"? Or do you think, "gained 70 pounds"? (I'm sure some did gain significantly, at the outside of the bell curve, but it's not the average.)

  • A few years ago obesity researcher Jeffrey M. Friedman reminded us weight is even more hereditary than height. One would expect that siblings would have higher correlations than non-siblings (and identical twins higher than non-twins (study)), which makes all the "friends matter more than siblings" in the media look laughable.

  • On the other hand, in the same article, Friedman says that “people can exert a level of control over their weight within a 10-, perhaps a 15-pound range". Five and 17 pounds is pretty close to that 10 to 15 lb range. Which is interesting.
Computer programs are fun, I spend my work days finding bugs in them :) Toss in that people tend to see what they expect to see, and modeling something like this in software is going to be interesting. But one advantage of this being a model based on free software, and the availability of the Framingham data, is that other researchers can look at this too... ;)

*The Times has it behind the TimeSelect firewall, hence my linking to the copy at CUNY above.
jenk: Faye (sexy)
AKA, a few annotated links.
  1. If you are a felon in possession of a firearm, do not shoot anyone unless your actual life is in danger &mdash and even if it is, be prepared to be charged. In particular, be sure the "rodent" you are shooting at is not a snorkeler.

  2. If you are a fatphobic hetboy fat fetishist who runs down the women you are attracted to, even Dan Savage thinks you do not deserve to get laid. Because?

    The woman you'd want deserves better than you.

    The letter reads like he couldn't decide between self-pity and bad porn. The writer comes off as the type of snake that abuses kids & dogs. And marrying a thin woman because he doesn't have the balls to admit he is attracted to fat women? Well ... I guess that says it all, doesn't it?

  3. Accept what turns you on. If it's legal and moral, talk to your partner. If it isn't, try to work out an alternative that is legal and moral, or realize your fantasies are going to be different from your reality. But hiding your desires is not going to get you what you want.

  4. If cleaning your house has got you down ... at least you don't have to deal with 8' by 200' of wax.
jenk: Faye (sexy)
I've read a variety of sources on this. Sometimes the conclusion is "no"; sometimes it's "we don't know". But rarely have I seen it stated as bluntly as in this excerpt from Gina Kolata’s new book, Rethinking Thin, printed in the NY Times.

It starts with recounting a 1959 study by Dr Jules Hirsch where people who had been fat since childhood or adolescence moved into Rockefeller University Hospital to go on a rigorous diet.

Average loss: 100 lbs. [E]everyone, including Dr. Hirsch, assumed that the subjects would leave the hospital permanently thinner. That did not happen. ) But since this was a research study, the investigators were also measuring metabolic changes, psychiatric conditions, body temperature and pulse. And that led them to a surprising conclusion: fat people who lost large amounts of weight might look like someone who was never fat, but they were very different. In fact, by every metabolic measurement, they seemed like people who were starving.

metabolic and psychological changes were observed )

The Rockefeller researchers explained their observations in one of their papers: “It is entirely possible that weight reduction, instead of resulting in a normal state for obese patients, results in an abnormal state resembling that of starved nonobese individuals.”

Eventually, more than 50 people lived at the hospital and lost weight, and every one had physical and psychological signs of starvation. There were a very few who did not get fat again, but they made staying thin their life’s work, becoming Weight Watchers lecturers, for example, and, always, counting calories and maintaining themselves in a permanent state of starvation.

So does this mean once you get fat, your body permanently adjusts? Not so fast. Another researcher at the University of Vermont looked into what happened if people without weight problems deliberately gained weight.

With great difficulty, they succeeded, increasing their weight by 20 percent to 25 percent. [...] Once the men were fat, their metabolisms increased by 50 percent.[...] When the study ended, the prisoners had no trouble losing weight. Within months, they were back to normal and effortlessly stayed there.
Their conclusion?
[E]ach person has a comfortable weight range to which the body gravitates. [...] Going much above or much below the natural weight range is difficult, however; the body resists by increasing or decreasing the appetite and changing the metabolism to push the weight back to the range it seeks.
In other words, I think there's a reason why my (rather gradual) weight gains tended to stick with me, and my (rather dramatic) weight losses didn't.

(BTW, emphasis added by me.)
jenk: Faye (read)
JunkFoodScience looked at risk factors recently. It starts with the following questions:

Why do studies continue to find that health risk factors don’t actually predict who will succumb to disease or die early? Why do people with a wide range of numbers (body mass index, blood lipids, blood sugars, blood pressures), diets and lifestyles end up dying around the same time and of the same things? Why don’t risk factors make a bigger, sure-fire difference?

The answer is in the definition of "risk factor". Quote: "All that the term "risk factor" means is that a researcher has found a correlation between two variables."

And what do we know about correlations?

Correlations are not causation. Correlations often contradict each other, and make for downright silly conclusions or advice. Remember this one? — “Women, rack up those frequent flyer miles to lower your risk for miscarriage!”

Seriously - women with lower frequent flyer miles have a higher rate of miscarriage.

Being Black is a risk factor for sickle cell anemia but skin whitening won’t do a thing to prevent or cure sickle cell anemia. And “being male is now the single largest demographic risk factor for early mortality in developed countries,” according to Daniel Kruger, a social psychologist at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.
[...]
Even the term “disease” increasingly doesn’t refer to actual clinical illness or disability anymore. Some want us to believe that certain risk factors themselves are diseases, too. [Although this is inconsistently applied, depending on whatever is popular to believe or is being sold. While, for instance, the most “morbidly obese” women (the upper 0.2% of the population, even) live longer than normal weight men, obesity is declared a disease, but maleness isn’t!]

As Sandy concludes:
Remember whenever you hear the term, risk factor, that it is just a correlation, not a disease, a measure of actual risk, or cause of death.

The biggest risk factor for the diseases that eventually kill all of us is aging. And there’s not much we can do about that one, no matter how much some may want us to believe otherwise. Everything else pales by comparison. In the meantime, less panic and fear, and a lot more balance and common sense, can help all of us get the most out of the lives we have.
jenk: Faye (Kim)
[livejournal.com profile] silenceleigh posted a pointer to an article at JunkFoodScience on how being what the CDC terms "overweight" after age 65 is healthier than being thin. From the abstract of a study published in the American Journal of Public Health:
Results. During 8 years of follow-up, there were 945 deaths. Mortality was lowest among women in the middle of the distribution of each body size measure. For BMI, the lowest mortality rates were in the range 24.6 to 29.8 kg/m2. The U-shaped relations were seen throughout the age ranges included in this study and were not attributable to smoking or measures of preexisting illness. [...]

Conclusions. Our results do not support applying the National Institutes of Health categorization of BMI from 25 to 29.9 kg/m2 as overweight in older women, because women with BMIs in this range had the lowest mortality.
(emphasis added)
The JunkFoodScience article goes into much more detail about the methodology and results, including other studies with similar results and noting that
The slightly increased risks seen among the very largest women, however, were still less than the much higher risks seen among women in the smallest quintile. The women with the highest risks were not extremely small, either, but had BMIs starting under 22.38 (about 130 pounds for a 5-4 woman).
Clicking around the JunkFoodScience site, I found other interesting pieces about fat-phobic mothers possibly stunting their children's growth by watering formula and increases in premature babies in the 1950s and now correlate with urging pregnant women not to gain "too much weight".

But what made me chuckle was this bit on nocebo - the opposite of placebo:
Have you ever taken one of those tests to see if you might have a health problem from an environmental exposure, food or toxin that your doctor hasn’t identified? Simply reading the questions, suggests to us all sorts of horrors or possible bad things we might have been exposed to or symptoms we could be experiencing!
....which put a new light on Branch's claim that she has Asperger's because "I read about it online and decided I had it" and "I checked off seven of ten boxes on the list".
jenk: Faye (Default)
Alli, which is a low-dose version of Xenical, or orlistat. Testing for Xenical included putting a bunch of people on a diet, exercise, & a-pill-with-each-meal regimen for a year. Those whose pills were Xenical averaged a 10% weight loss for the year (if you started at 200lbs, lose 20). Those whose pills were placebos averaged a 6% weight loss for the year (start at 200lbs, lose 12). Another test with diabetics found the Xenical group lost 6% in a year; the placebo group lost 4%.

Over-the-counter Alli is 1/2 the dose; GlaxoSmithKline says it will increase weight loss by 50%. So if you'd lose 10 lbs on a placebo, you'd lose lose 15lb on Alli.

How it works: It blocks the absorption of about 1/4 of the fat eaten in any particular meal, so it gets passed on through...which can cause what are politely termed, "loose stools", "gastric discomfort", and "some oily spotting". A low-fat diet is recommended; low-carb might not work so well.

Time for a poll:

[Poll #923412]

O. M. G.

Feb. 6th, 2007 09:08 pm
jenk: Faye (sexy)
Got a 93-lb ovarian cyst? Just go on a diet. It's the fat person's miracle cure for all ills, dontchaknow.

Also: She'd been seeing doctors about her weight for 12 years....
jenk: Faye (DariaPensive)
I thought this was worth having for reference....
... ) The average American man is 3 inches taller and 50 pounds heavier than he was at the time of the Civil War ... ) the typical Civil War veteran had a body mass index of 23, which put him in the middle of what our public health officials incorrectly label the "normal" range of weight (it was normal to be thin in the 19th century, mainly because so many people were malnourished).

Meanwhile, today's average middle-age male has a BMI of 28, putting him toward the high end of the government's "overweight" category.

Yet middle-age people today are far healthier than their parents were at the same age, who in turn were much healthier than their parents. Rates of most major illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, respiratory diseases and many cancers, have plummeted over the course of the past few generations, and continue to fall.

All this flies in the face of endless waves of hysteria about how the average American's weight imperils his or her health. Indeed, the most recent comprehensive study of the issue found "overweight" people had lower death rates than "normal weight" people, and "obesity" did not even begin to correlate with any increased mortality risk until one reached the fattest 6 percent of the population. ... )
I also tracked down the Gina Kolata articles Paul Compos referenced.
.... ) The difference does not involve changes in genes, as far as is known, but changes in the human form. It shows up in several ways, from those that are well known and almost taken for granted, like greater heights and longer lives, to ones that are emerging only from comparisons of health records.

The biggest surprise emerging from the new studies is that many chronic ailments like heart disease, lung disease and arthritis are occurring an average of 10 to 25 years later than they used to. There is also less disability among older people today, according to a federal study that directly measures it. And that is not just because medical treatments like cataract surgery keep people functioning. Human bodies are simply not breaking down the way they did before.

Even the human mind seems improved. The average I.Q. has been increasing for decades, and at least one study found that a person’s chances of having dementia in old age appeared to have fallen in recent years.

The proposed reasons are as unexpected as the changes themselves. Improved medical care is only part of the explanation; studies suggest that the effects seem to have been set in motion by events early in life, even in the womb, that show up in middle and old age. .... )

Scientists used to say that the reason people are living so long these days is that medicine is keeping them alive, though debilitated. But studies like one Dr. Fogel directs, of Union Army veterans, have led many to rethink that notion.

The study involves a random sample of about 50,000 Union Army veterans. Dr. Fogel compared those men, the first generation to reach age 65 in the 20th century, with people born more recently.

The researchers focused on common diseases that are diagnosed in pretty much the same way now as they were in the last century. So they looked at ailments like arthritis, back pain and various kinds of heart disease that can be detected by listening to the heart.

The first surprise was just how sick people were, and for how long. .... )

BBW Bash

Jul. 31st, 2006 08:18 pm
jenk: Faye (sexy)
The Bash, which we attended, overlapped a bit with the Lifestyles con, which we didn't. They were both at The Stardust.

Difference between a bash and con? A bash has more parties. Cons have more programming. :)

Various impressions....
  • Vegas is Vegas: hot, dry, smokey. Lots going on, lots to see, lots you can do. Don't forget your preferred headache remedies.
  • Oh, and don't walk all day in loose-fitting sandals. My blisters are finally healing...after two days of sitting in a car.
  • Lots of big women, but then, there were over 1300 attendees. There were plenty of women bigger than I & also plenty that were smaller.*
  • There were quite a few men attending the event as well. Most of them were not large, which I found a bit surprising. Not that I'm unacquainted with fat admirers, but it was interesting how few BBM there were.
  • People were really into the event. The costume party had quite a few different outfits, and Saturday night had a LOT of people in formals.
  • I understand why the pool parties went from midnight to four AM...I also understand why I didn't bother...
  • I heard several women talking about how they met their best friends through the BBWNetwork and the Bashes.
  • I can understand that meeting fat accepting folk, fat admirers, and other people of size can be a huge revelation. So can seeing a fashion show, or a dance full of happy fat chicks.** And that's cool.
  • A few of the men at the bash chatted me up - or tried to. I was polite & friendly, but I got the impression they expecting me to be a lot more pleased at male attention than I was. Hm. Do I look desperate?
  • [livejournal.com profile] jw1776 & I helped out at [livejournal.com profile] cyberangel_'s booth in the vendor fair. Some people asked if [livejournal.com profile] cyberangel_ "thought she was bigger than she is". The impression I got was that [livejournal.com profile] cyberangel_ wasn't seen as being "fat enough". I'd joked about lending the booth "street cred" but this didn't exactly make me happy.
  • There was a certain amount of jockeying between the plus-size and supersize, the singles and the partnered, the apples and the pears.
  • There was also an interesting mix of let's-be-racy-but-stay-tame. The bash aims at being PG-13, but I don't just mean the bash. All the push on the topless shows or the "gentleman's clubs", showgirls...but it's all done with a wink, a tease, a let's-go-only-so-far limit. Mass marketing requires certain limits.
  • I also got some funny looks while dancing, both alone and with [livejournal.com profile] jw1776. I've had people express surprise at how we dance before, so that may be it.***
  • Yes, I got clothes at the vendor fair - mostly from Big on Batik. I'm glad I was able to try things on and not go by catalog. Yummy natural-fiber clothes that look good on me, yay.
  • I also enjoyed hanging out with friends and catching up. The Seattle-area contingent included [livejournal.com profile] jw1776, [livejournal.com profile] sirenscry, & [livejournal.com profile] cyberangel_. I also got to see [livejournal.com profile] scubachik & [livejournal.com profile] divaprime again, meet [livejournal.com profile] lenniersd in person, and a few other folks :)
Overall, I'm glad I went. I'm also glad my new Celtic Butterfly dress from Holy Clothing showed up before we left!

*If you don't know me in real life, my proportions are: 59"-57"-67" around, 5'9" tall. This puts me in the "supersize" category of bigger-than-plus-size-departments in department stores.
**I first encountered fat acceptance in the 80s through the original BBW Magazine, published by Carole Shaw, who came up with the term "BBW" for "Big Beautiful Woman". With usenet came camaraderie (hi [livejournal.com profile] firecat!) and more information. The first BBW fashion show I went to was at the Seattle Bon Marche (now Macy's) in 90 or 91, hosted by Carole Shaw.
***It is apparently surprising that [livejournal.com profile] jw1776 & I are large, limber and not afraid to move. Or to spin. :)
jenk: Faye (sexy)
Equating weight loss [with] improved health is "like saying 'whiter teeth produced by the elimination of smoking reduces the incidence of lung cancer,'" argues J. Eric Oliver, author of Fat Politics: The Real Story Behind America's Obesity Epidemic.

It is not fat itself that is unhealthy, but our hypocritical attitudes and compulsive behaviors that are. We drive two blocks to the grocery store and then spend 20 minutes circling the parking lot so we can get a close spot. Once inside we load up our carts with low-fat, microwave meals and diet shakes filled with artificial everything. In the checkout line, we read about the latest fitness trend in Men's Health or Self, then get back into our cars, drive the two blocks home, and sit in front of the television all night eating Pizza Hut while drinking a liter of Diet Coke. We go to bed late, wake up early, head to work -- in our cars, of course -- where we will spend the next eight hours stationary and bored. Rinse. Repeat.
~ from Alternet: One Big Fat Lie
jenk: Faye (mmm...)
A well-written essay by Harriet Brown. I've got the full thing here, but most of it is behind cuts:
... ) In Arkansas, for instance, children's report cards now include their B.M.I., or body mass index, along with their grades.... ) Never mind that B.M.I. is only a measure of height against weight and does not take into account muscle mass, body type or other factors. (Tom Cruise has a B.M.I. of 31, which puts him in the "obese" category.)

What about special programs to promote nutrition and exercise at school? ) Researchers concluded that pupils whose school lunches offered 25 percent fat (compared with 31 percent in the control group) were compensating for the reduction by eating higher-fat foods at home.

Big surprise. Anyone who's dieted for a day, a week, a month and then overeaten to compensate is familiar with the deprivation-binge-deprivation cycle — and with the weight gain that often accompanies it. One Harvard study showed that 39 percent of nurses who lost weight through dieting regained it, and in fact wound up 10 pounds heavier on average than those who didn't lose weight.

Early in my children's lives, I was a no-sugar, no-fat mom, the legacy of my own childhood with a constantly dieting mother. I thought I was doing the right thing, until a friend told me that every time my children stayed at her house, the first thing they did was ask for ice cream. With sprinkles. And chocolate chips. And gummy worms. By rigidly restricting their sugar intake, I had made it a highly sought out pleasure — the last thing I'd intended. ... )

What worries me even more than the words being thrown about in the food wars are the unspoken messages we're giving our children about their bodies, themselves and the food they eat. Prohibiting that second slice of pizza sends a message that pizza is bad, that there are good foods and bad foods, safe foods and dangerous foods — a perceived dichotomy that every anorexic is all too familiar with. As one expert puts it, ) "Maintain the structure of meals and snacks so children can count on getting fed — and fed enough." . )
Source: New York Times RSS feed
jenk: Faye (sexy)
Steven Shapin reviewed a few books on fatness in the 1/16/2006 New Yorker. While discussing of Fat Politics: The Real Story Behind America’s Obesity Epidemic (Oxford; $26) by J. Eric Oliver:
[O]ne group of C.D.C. researchers put it, “Evidence that weight loss improves survival is limited.” We are getting fat, but, Oliver says, we’re not getting sick because of it. He argues that researchers are ) too quick to ascribe to weight loss what might be better attributed to the life-style changes that produce weight loss. This, Oliver claims, “is like saying ‘whiter teeth produced by the elimination of smoking reduces the incidence of lung cancer.’ ”
This isn't a new idea; Big Fat Lies covers some of the same ground; but it's interesting to see this getting more press. A couple other little mots from the article that I liked:
Fat was once considered a sign of substance and now it isn’t. It was once thought sexy and now it’s the opposite. [...] It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that fat became ugly when the poor became fat.
I guess the beggar-maid is only romantic to the masses... ;)
jenk: Faye (sexy)
One of the side affects of weight loss is that your body becomes more efficient. AKA, losing weight? Must not be enough food! Must conserve fuel! Or as Gina Kolata wrote in the NY Times:
When people lose substantial amounts of weight, their physiology changes so that, although they may look normal, they have all the hallmarks of starvation. Their metabolism slows down, they expend fewer calories when they exercise because their muscles become much more efficient, and their thyroid hormone and adrenaline levels drop. They also have much lower levels of the fat hormone, leptin.
This, naturally, causes the weight to come back. Repeated diet-and-regain is called "yo-yoing". I've read that yo-yoing has been intentionally used as a treatment for underweight. For most of us, tho, yo-yoing is unintentional. It's how I "dieted up" to my adult weight.
A group of researchers at Columbia University devised an experiment to see whether if they could prevent these changes that occur with weight loss. Leptin, they reasoned, tells the brain how much fat is on the body. But what if the researchers put people - fat and thin - on weight-reducing diets and gave them enough leptin to make their bodies think that they were still fat. The leptin would then serve as a sort of virtual fat. Would the subjects still show the metabolic changes of starvation?

The answer, published in the current issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation, was that the leptin trick worked. more details )
Interesting....
jenk: Faye (Maggie)
Saw this in the NY Times...couldn't resist. Reminds me of when I quit dieting in college: I got better grades, generally felt better about my life, and saw my weight stablize for the first time EVAH.
On the Scales: Non-Dieters Weigh the Same, but They're Happier
June 14, 2005 By NICHOLAS BAKALAR
Dieting is not necessarily the royal road to good health.

In a paper published this month in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers found that obese women who used a nutrition and behavior approach that ignored weight and body mass index, or B.M.I., a common measure of weight in relation to body size, were psychologically healthier at the end of a two-year trial period than those on conventional weight-loss diets.

Nondieters lost no weight during the trial. Dieters initially lost weight, and then gained it back, showing no weight loss after two years. ) Differences between dieters and nondieters in total cholesterol, H.D.L. cholesterol, L.D.L. cholesterol and blood pressure were insignificant at the end of the study. But nondieters felt significantly better about their bodies and showed highly significant decreases in depression, as measured by a widely used test.

"There is an extraordinary amount of scientific research that documents that dieting is not an effective health or weight-loss strategy," said Dr. Linda Bacon, the lead author. But, she said, "there is abundant research to show that when people make lifestyle changes, they improve health."
I have to wonder about the "improve health" comment tho. Did the non-dieting group's cholesterol, BP, endurance, cardiovascular health, or other measurement improve during the study? It would be interesting to know.
jenk: Faye (wedding)
So King County is thinking of tying health costs - specifically deductibles and % covered - to a program involving an 'optional' questionnaire, commitments to 'healthy habits', and a 'personalized action plan'. Now, my hackles shoot for the sky on this sort of thing. And it's not just the privacy issue or the potential for discrimination and exploitation, or even the "Will the program actually SAVE more money than it costs to ADMINISTER?"

Nope. My immediate reaction is, "Oh, another way to dump on the FAT people and remind them that they are worthless stupid meat because, well, DUH, they're FAT."

Then I read the summary of how they're going to divide people among the various 'tiers'. To quote from the Seattle Times sidebar:
Bronze: no participation in health-risk assessment (highest cost to employees)

Silver: Employee must fill out an assessment and follow at least one healthy habit.*

Gold: Employee must fill out an assessment, complete the personalized action plan (for example, eat healthier or exercise more) and follow at least two healthy habits.* (Lowest cost to employees)

Possible examples of healthy habits:
  • Driving within 5 miles of the speed limit
  • Walking 30 minutes three times a week
  • Using sunscreen when outside for more than 30 minutes
  • Wearing a helmet when skiing or riding a bicycle or motorcycle
...and I realize: I could easily be a "silver" under this plan. I already walk 30 minutes 5 times a week. I already use sunscreen when I'm outside more than 30 minutes. I already wear a helmet when riding my bike (ok, I don't ride frequently, but I do). So it would all depend on whether I chose to participate and what would end up in my 'personalized action plan'.

And then my brain stops with a massive HUH?
jenk: Faye (Maggie)
People who are overweight but not obese have a lower risk of death than those of normal [or under normal] weight, federal researchers are reporting today. [...] 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. [...T]he new study addressed the risk only of death and not of disability or disease. [...]

The study did not explain why overweight appeared best as far as mortality was concerned. But Dr. Williamson said the reason might be that most people die when they are over 70. Having a bit of extra fat in old age appears to be protective, he said, giving rise to more muscle and more bone. "It's called the obesity paradox," Dr. Williamson said. But, he said, while the paradox is real, the reasons are speculative. "It's raw conjecture," he said.

The new study comes just 13 months after different researchers from the disease control centers published a paper warning that obesity and overweight were causing an extra 400,000 deaths a year and were poised to overtake smoking as the nation's leading preventable cause of premature death. ... ) Now the new study says that obesity and extreme obesity are causing about 112,000 extra deaths but that overweight is preventing about 86,000, leaving a net toll of some 26,000 deaths in all three categories combined, compared with the 34.000 extra deaths found in those who are underweight. - From The New York Times

Based on the new calculation, excess weight would drop from the second leading cause of preventable death, after smoking, to seventh. It would fall behind car crashes and guns on the list of killers. - Associated Press
I'm not surprised that the 'normal' BMIs may be too low for overall health - I know several people whose lean body mass alone puts them over the 'normal' BMI. I also realize this still leaves me in the 'high-risk' category (severely obese). That said, I always doubted the 365,000-deaths-a-year figure. I also realize that there are health risks to weight loss.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't lose weight if they feel its the best choice for them. I would hope that the people reading this would do it by exercising more and eating differently, not by laxatives, bulmia (and why isn't Terri Schiavo seen as a warning against bulimia, hm?), illegal drugs, or amputations.

I just think that a lot of what is said and written about weight could just a *few* grains of sanity occasionally. Not too many - wouldn't want to have to lay any of those snake-oil sellers off or anything - but a few wouldn't hurt, now would they?

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