What is the obesity myth this book exposes? It's the idea that body fat is unhealthy.
That's right. Your eyes are not deceiving you. Body fat is not bad. The myth that it is has been repeated
so often that it seems obvious, but it is actually totally wrong. Here are a few examples of the facts the author provides:
When the original height and weight charts were created, the people at the level that was labeled 'overweight' actually had the lowest mortality (death) rate in the data used. (Page 9)
Fat people who exercise--yes, they're still fat--are just as healthy as thin people who
exercise. (Page 126) They also have HALF the death rate of thin people who don't. (Page xxii)
Remember the Pima tribe? The ones that are so fat, and supposedly so sick? They found another group of Pima living south of the U.S. border. These people are thinner and are used as an example of what a "healthier" diet can do. What they didn't tell you is that not only do the the thinner Pimas have very little food, but they also have a shorter average lifespan than the fat ones. (Page 123)
What about all the scientific studies that say fat is bad? Unfortunately, it is quite easy to distort experimental results. Mr. Campos gives many examples of how this is done, but one of the most misleading is a statistical calculation called percentage of increase. This value makes small differences seem big. Suppose a study is done of two groups of 100 people. One person--or 1%--in the first group gets a heart attack. Two people--or 2%--get a heart attack in the second group. This very small difference may even be due to chance, but now the researcher can whip out percentage of increase. Two percent is 100% larger than one percent. Therefore, now the study results can say that people in the second group had a 100% greater rate of heart attacks than the first group. Now the "revolutionary" new discovery is newsworthy. (Page 15)
Some 'facts' from study results are just off the wall. A few years back, there was a big announcement that 300,000 people die each year from obesity in the U.S. That number was arrived at very strangely. They started with the fact that 78% of deaths occur in people over 65. The remaining 22% adds up to about 500,000 deaths per year. About 200,000 of those have obvious causes like car accidents, murders, suicides, etc. Now, the researchers made a big leap--they assumed that the remaining 300,000 people who died before reaching the age of 65 must have died of the 'disease' of obesity instead of many other possible causes. So here we have the number that has been repeated so often. (Page 17)
The next question is why. Why would such misleading information be accepted and publicized? Unfortunately, the answer is money and prejudice. The diet industry is big business, and many researchers have conflicts of interest. Playing on peoples' fears and prejudices is a common tactic in many situations. Also, people who spend their lives dieting over and over (Most people who lose weight gain it back--which is very good for business.) get to the point where they don't want to face the fact that they may have been wasting their time and damaging their health. (Yes, dieting is bad for you.)
The idea that fat is bad has become so widespread that questioning it has become almost unthinkable. Hatred of fat has progressed to the point where it has become a form of bigotry akin to racism. Parents have even lost custody of their own children for the crime of "letting" them get fat. (Page 99) The author, himself, conducted a survey of people's attitudes about fat that gives an even greater indication of how far fat hatred has gone. 78% of people who responded said that they would be willing to take a pill that would make them thin even if it shortened their lives. 91% would NOT take a pill that would make them live longer if it made them fatter. (Page 142) In other words, better dead than fat.
The information I have summarized here is only a small sample of what you will find in this well-researched and documented book. Read it, learn the truth about this total myth, and give up the obsession with fat and weight loss that is taking over many of our lives.
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