Posted by: Hilary | 2004/11/03

Are the dangers exaggerated?

I have just been reading a book called `The Forbidden Body' which suggests that slight overweight (not morbid obesity) is not the health risk that we have been led to believe, and that the dangers are highly exaggerated - in fact, according to the author, overweight people are often much healthier than the underweight or those who have undermined their health with yo-yo dieting. Among other things, she claims that `ideal weight' charts used by insurance and medical professionals are completely unrealistic. She also points out that dieting doesn't work - more than 98% of dieters regain the weight within 2 years. She also exposes some of the scams and gross exploitation of the diet industry, which capitalises on the desperation of women to fit stereotypes and the prejudice of the public as a result of media ibrainwashing.

Would you care to comment?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Hilary
I agree that slight overweight is not really a serious problem. However, obesity and morbid obesity are grave health risks. The problem is that individuals who are slightly overweight have a tendency to increase in weight esp as they get older. It is a proven fact that people increase their body weight by 1% per annum as they grow older even if they don't eat more because of the decrease in Basic Metabolic Rate. Thus slight plumpness if kept constant is ok, but not if it escalates. The 'ideal' weight charts may well be too lenient as the startling statistics of obesity in SA and countries like the USA attest - between 40 and 50% of the adult population is obese. Fad diets do not work, I agree. But if the individual learns to change her lifestyle by eating a balanced low-fat, high-fibre diet and doing exercise on a daily basis then she will lose weight and keep it off. I also agree that modern 'examples of beauty' are totally unrealistic - no one should aspire to look like a top model, i.e. anorexic.
Best regards

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