PREVENTIVE MEDICINE: Don't Fall for Lure of Ping-Pong Science

By Katz, Dr David | New Haven Register (New Haven, CT), January 7, 2013 | Go to article overview

PREVENTIVE MEDICINE: Don't Fall for Lure of Ping-Pong Science


Katz, Dr David, New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)


ACCORDING to a recent New York Times op-ed by Paul Campos, a law professor at the University of Colorado, our "fear" of fat -- namely epidemic obesity -- is, in a word, absurd.

Campos, the author of "The Obesity Myth," who has established something of a cottage industry contending that the fuss we make about epidemic obesity is all some government-manufactured conspiracy theory, or a confabulation serving the interests of the weight loss-pharmaceutical complex, was reacting to a meta- analysis, published last week in JAMA, indicating that mortality rates go up as obesity gets severe, but that mild obesity and overweight are actually associated with lower overall mortality than so-called "healthy" weight.

This study -- debunked for important deficiencies by many leading scientists around the country, and with important limitations acknowledged by its own authors -- was treated by Campos as if it was a third tablet on the summit of Mount Sinai.

Treating science like a Ping-Pong ball is what is absurd. It's also scary, as is the obesity epidemic.

As for the meta-analysis, a study designed to pool the results of other studies, the first, obvious limitation is that it examined mortality (death) but not morbidity (illness).

The Global Burden of Disease Study, recently published in The Lancet and sponsored by the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is widely acknowledged as one of the most comprehensive epidemiologic assessments in history.

What it shows, among countries around the world, is that we are living longer, but sicker -- and that obesity is one of the important reasons for the latter.

Thanks to the cutting edge of biomedical advance, we can often forestall death; but high- tech medicine is not remotely as useful for cultivating health and vitality.

When people get sick, they generally lose weight. The new study was in no way adjusted to exclude from the analysis people who were thin because they were sick. We have long had evidence that among older people, hanging on to weight is associated with better outcomes than losing weight. There is, as well, an enormous difference between being lean because of eating well and being physically active, and being lean because of anorexia nervosa or routine cocaine use.

The meta-analysis was blind to any such distinctions. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

PREVENTIVE MEDICINE: Don't Fall for Lure of Ping-Pong Science
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.