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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Health At Every Size

No one is an island but to hold the point of view on health that I do sure makes it feel that way. In a world where the health community exists largely in an echo chamber holding a differing point of view takes much courage and conviction. Case on point is the area of health as related to body weight.

By a large margin the health community promotes the idea that a lower body weight is directly related to a lower risk of health complications. Risk of cardiovascular disease, cancers, stroke and diabetes are mitigated by achieving and maintaining what they say is a healthy body weight. The measure for this is a body mass index below 30. To differ in any way with their mantra can quickly cause one to be labeled as a health heretic. My heresy however is not unfounded.

I recently discovered a co conspirator in Dr Linda Bacon PhD. Dr. Bacon is the author of the book Health at Every Size: the Surprising Truth about Your Weight. The thesis of the book is fat isn’t the problem but dieting is the problem. Furthermore the problem lies with a societal view that being thin is equal with being healthy when in truth it is not.

Rather than attempting to cram everyone into unrealistic cultural norms the health at every size idea is to listen to your own body. In the book Dr Bacon reveals that on average overweight people live longer than those of a “normal weight. She also dispels the myth that those who lose weight live longer since no scientific study has ever demonstrated this to be true. Finally Health At Every Size reveals that individual biology sets a persons weight and that weight loss is usually regained.

So now there are at least two of us on the island. In fact there are a growing number of doctors, scientists and clear thinking people who have begun to question the mantras of the health establishment. In truth that should be a welcomed and open discussion. Yet because there is such a goldmine in the weight loss arena that discussion is often swept under the rug.

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