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  • Peter

Thought for the day - Critical Thinking!


I'll be honest, this post is written in haste, in reaction to an article that the BBC posted today. You can read it here as long as you promise to read the rest of my blog post straight after.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40921856

In my humble opinion, this article very neatly shows everything that is wrong with the UK's attitude towards 'fitness & health'.

The underlying message of the article is correct, but unfortunately they seem to have completely confused the important point of that message, and unfortunately it goes downhill from there...

It starts off well with the headline

'Fat but fit' still risk heart disease"

I like this because it tells you that no-matter what your most recent examination says, no-one is in the clear from heart disease, particularly if you have high body fat. I think we can all agree, this is good advice.

It continues...

"People who are overweight or obese are at increased risk of heart disease even if they appear medically healthy, experts are warning."

Ok, now it has changed from 'fat' to 'weight' - both very different things, but again it is good advice.

It then goes on to talk a bit about the study, in which it has found that people who with higher weight/bodyfat were more likely to develop heart disease even if they appeared to be in good health. Hardly groundbreaking research.

It goes on to say that high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar raises the odds further still.

But then they fall down the inevitable rabbit hole that always appears "Weight appeared to be a risk factor."

and it even then goes on to ask "Are you a healthy weight for your height?" with a link to the NHS BMI calculator!

So we have gone from talking about fat to weight without acknowledging there is a difference between the two. And here is where I'm going to make my important point.

Correlation does not equal causation.

Yes, I agree, If you look at a population of people, the heavier ones are likely to be more unhealthy than the lighter ones, however that is because the heavier ones are likely to be carrying more bodyfat. The problem here is that by putting the emphasis on weight, you are inclined to think that it is 'weight' that causes the issue.

And then finally, the article finishes off with a quote which definitely makes my blood pressure rise:

Prof Metin Avkiran, from the British Heart Foundation, which part-funded the research, said: "The take-home message here is that maintaining a healthy body weight is a key step towards maintaining a healthy heart."

I'm sorry Professor, but I disagree. The take home message here, is that maintaining a healthy body is a key step towards maintaining a healthy heart. Weight, apart from being an indicator, has very little to do with it.

If you want to know more about why BMI is nonsense, please read this: http://www.wabba.co.uk/bmi-the-great-swindle or please see my other blog posts - it does come up fairly often!

#fat #BMI #health #study #weight #bodyweight