not dead

“Total and annual percent change in age-standardized death rates and years of potential life lost before age 75 years for all causes combined and for heart disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), stroke, unintentional injuries, and diabetes mellitus.”


Between 1969 and 2013, for

All causes of death there was a 42.9% reduction.

Stroke – 77.0% reduction

Heart disease – 67.5% reduction

Cancer – 17.9% reduction

Diabetes – 16.5% reduction

So despite all the fat-death screaming of society, at least here in America (you know, the land of fatties), there is a lot less death.  Especially for deaths where fat is blamed such as stroke and heart disease.

The only increase was in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  Something that is not considered fat-related.

And yet in an article in,

“However, the death rate from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease doubled over the study period, from 21 deaths per 100,000 people in 1969 to 42 deaths per 100,000 people in 2013, the researchers found. This increase might be a result of obesity, as well as continued smoking, lead author Jiemin Ma, a researcher at the American Cancer Society, and colleagues, said in the report.”

Except I couldn’t find anything in the published study that tried to link obesity and COPD.

The National Institute of Health states:

“Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Most people who have COPD smoke or used to smoke. Long-term exposure to other lung irritants—such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust—also may contribute to COPD.”

Do you see weight, obesity, fat in that list?  I sure don’t.

Perhaps they mean that being fat increases the risk of death from COPD, but since COPD can prevent you from doing even basic activities (like walking, cooking, or taking care of yourself), it seems likely that people with COPD may be prone to weight gain because of resulting lack of mobility.  So the problem may be a lack of treatment that assists COPD patients with mobility.

The only thing I found in the study concerning obesity was blaming a slow down in the death rate reduction for stroke, heart disease and diabetes on obesity prevalence.  I guess because a 42.9% overall reduction, 77% reduction in stroke, 67.5% reduction for heart disease, and a 16.5% reduction for diabetes is just not good enough?  It couldn’t be that we’re starting to hit the wall for what our current medical skills can deal with – right?

It has to be because – fat.

And you have to cry FAT somewhere in a study.  Otherwise, how are you going to get funding for further research?

The article goes on to list some interesting statistics, taken from an accompanying editorial published in the same issue of JAMA, such as:

Alzheimer’s disease moved from the eighth-leading cause of death in 2000 to the sixth-leading cause in 2013, McGinnis wrote in the editorial.

Suicide rates also increased by one-third from 2000 to 2013, “highlighting the importance of mental health and depression as prominent health challenges,” McGinnis said.

What’s more, death rates among black people were about double those for white people in infant mortality, heart disease, diabetes and prostate cancer in 2013, he said.

The editorial’s take away from the study is

“Ultimately, the most fundamental national challenge is bringing the best health possible to its entire population, regardless of race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status,” McGinnis wrote in the editorial.

I agree generally with that statement; however, I feel like McGinnis is missing the point.  While the ultimate problem may be “bringing the best health possible to its entire population,” the cause is lack of affordable healthcare options.

Until the United States makes healthcare accessible to its entire population, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and size, we won’t be able to tell what we can achieve in reducing our death rates in this nation.



  1. Pingback: MY FAT ASS IS STILL FAT AND APT TO BE AROUND A WHILE LONGER | Thoughts from a Fat Old Lady

  2. We live in a society where a person can end up homeless if they have a health crisis. That isn’t right. People shouldn’t have to choose between medical care or shelter.
    I have excellent insurance through work. I pay out the ass for that excellent insurance–$400 a month. It’s actually the cheapest option in the long run, because I only have a $250 yearly deductible. I have several chronic health conditions, so not having a high deductible is important.
    I would be paying $250 a month in prescriptions alone if I didn’t have insurance. This isn’t for fancy medication. My medications are all older meds: Armour thyroid, Cytomel, Amlodipine besylate, Irbesartan, and Metformin. I get the generic forms for all but the Armour thyroid, which doesn’t have a generic.
    I pay out the ass for preventative care. If I had a health crisis where I couldn’t work any more not only I but my son, who has a psych disability, would be screwed. I’m trying to get him on Medicaid and food assistance. It’s been a real struggle.

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