Here’s a link to TLW’s other blog and a recent post about a recent study that’s been all over the news:
I’m providing a link to my blog Thoughts from This Fat Old Lady, outlining the fun and games I went through trying to get my CPAP replaced when it unexpectedly died.
Don’t you love discovering things you really, really like?
There is, of course, the question of, “How did I not know about this?”
But you know now, and that’s a goodness.
Making the rounds in the fat community is a lovely music video by rapper/singer Lizzo for her song My Skin.
Lizzo reminds me a lot of Missy Elliot, and I like Missy Elliot a lot.
I watched the video on YouTube (helping out my husband on the (fat) news roundup for the NAAFA newsletter), and saw there were a bunch of Lizzo videos.
I loved Good as Hell – telling women
I loved Let ‘Em Say (with Caroline Smith)
But what really moved me, was a video Lizzo did as part of the Underneath project. In it, she discusses her journey as a fat woman and a black woman, while removing clothing, wig and makeup. Exposing the beautiful natural woman on a number of levels.
This is why I am now a fan of Lizzo. She is as beautiful inside as she is on the outside.
A recent study claims that there is an association between rising BMI and heart failure in African Americans.
Kind of worrisome, wouldn’t you say?
EXCEPT, the raw data is garnered from the Jackson Heart Study.
What is the Jackson Heart Study? I’m so glad you asked.
The JHS is a large, community-based, observational study whose participants were recruited from urban and rural areas of the three counties (Hinds, Madison and Rankin) that make up the Jackson Miss, metropolitan statistical area (MSA).
Participants were enrolled from each of 4 recruitment pools: random, 17%; volunteer, 22%; currently enrolled in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, 30% and secondary family members, 31%. Recruitment was limited to non-institutionalized adult African Americans 35-84 years old, except in the family cohort where those 21 to 34 years of age were eligible. The final cohort of 5,301 participants includes 6.59% of all African American Jackson MSA residents aged 35-84 (N-76,426, US Census 2000).
So all of the participants come from three counties in Mississippi, the state that has the worst health ranking in the nation. Is ranked 49th for healthcare access and affordability; 48th for prevention and treatment, 51st for potentially avoidable hospital use, and 51st for healthy lives.
30% of the participants were already enrolled in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (in which the original participants were aged 45-64), and an additional 31% were family members of ARIC study participants.
It seems the participants on this study should not be considered representative of African American health nationwide.
And even with the deck so clearly stacked, the recent study found increasing BMI was NOT associated with risk for all-cause mortality in African Americans.
So why was this study published under the inflammatory title of:
The Obesity and Heart Failure Epidemics Among African Americans: Insights From the Jackson Heart Study
You want to know why? Because in our fat phobic, fat hating society, studies with titles like these have access to more research funding.
It should have been titled:
Some Fat African Americans in 3 Counties in Mississippi Could Sure Use Access to Better Healthcare, and as Would Most Everyone Else in the State of Mississippi.
But who is going to pay for that?
“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 livescience.com,
“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.
Here’s what I think about Oprah Winfrey buying 10% of Weight Watchers!
Well, actually, I did just throw up in my mouth a little bit when I saw this article.
Oh boy, we now have a whole group of “Fat Concern Trolls,” getting together to help fatties like me to live with our chronic “disease” of obesity.
Let me make this clear – FUCK YOU!!!!!!!!
Is obesity a chronic disease? I don’t think so, but I’d actually be okay with this categorization if it meant that discrimination against fat people could be ended. Unfortunately, it mostly adds credence to the folks who want to “cure” fatness. That’s like trying to “cure” tallness, or shortness, or having brown eyes.
This group claims that their National Obesity Care Week (“NOCW”) is a campaign to advance a
[C]omprehensive, compassionate and personalized approach to treating obesity as a disease.
Since, there is NO KNOWN METHOD for long term significant weight reduction for MOST people, I assume this treatment must be not weight focused but health focused.
That would make me very happy. There is a lot of science out there that tells us that there are ways to improve your health without achieving weight loss. In fact, focusing on weight loss is actually detrimental to the process – because once the weight loss stops (and it ALWAYS stops) the participants tend to stop participating in the otherwise healthful actions.
You see, healthy behavior is GOOD FOR EVERY BODY. It doesn’t matter what you weigh when you start; and it doesn’t matter what you weigh while you’re doing it, and healthy behavior doesn’t have an end goal.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS HEALTHY BEHAVIOR THAT IS GOOD ONLY FOR FAT BODIES.
And I want to be clear here. Nobody has a duty to do anything with their own body. If you choose not to engage in any given behavior – no problem. You do not have a “duty” to be (or be perceived as) healthy, good looking, or anything else. As Regan Chastain puts it, “You are the boss of your own underpants,” and I’ll add – you are the boss of what those underpants contain. I am saying that if you choose to engage in behavior that will enhance your own health, the outcomes will be better if health is your focus, not weight.
The article also claims:
Nearly half of people affected by obesity say they have not been advised by a physician about maintaining a healthy weight, according to the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
I read this and my first reaction was to call BULLSHIT. Turns out I was right.
The study they are referring to does not say that.
First, the study is a small (1,100 participants) phone survey; and the data can be found here: http://www.apnorc.org/PDFs/Obesity/AP-NORC-Obesity-Research-Highlights.pdf and http://www.apnorc.org/PDFs/Obesity/AP-NORC-Obesity-Topline.pdf.
The question, it seems, is what do you mean by “affected” by obesity?
I would say, that would be someone who is obese. The study’s chart shows that almost 70% of the obese participants (25% of the study participants) were advised on maintaining a healthy weight, and 80% of those participants were advised about the “risks” of being overweight/obese.
Apparently, this group believes that people “affected by obesity” means everyone.
And in case, you weren’t sure that these people don’t get it :
[A]ccording to patient advocate Michelle Vicari, “Many individuals living with obesity may avoid seeking medical care because they feel alienated and uncomfortable. Finding a doctor who is engaging, compassionate and committed to working with patients to develop a comprehensive weight-loss plan can be life-changing.”
Yes, fat people do feel alienated and uncomfortable seeking medical care. That’s because they are they are often treated with disrespect and sometimes outright cruelty. And a comprehensive weight-loss plan would be life-changing – IF IT EXISTED!!!!
Basically, what this group is really concerned with is trying to funnel more money into methods of “dealing” with fat people that are not helpful – things that are focused on weight loss rather than health.
Also, NAAFA (National Association for the Advancement of Fat Acceptance) has said
“NOTHING ABOUT US, WITHOUT US.”
This is a perfect example. All these people going to “help” us poor, helpless fatties, without asking us what would help. You know, like Microsoft programs “help” you do what you want to do, without having a concept of what you actually are doing.
Please, for the love of whatever you hold holy,
STOP THIS UTTER BULLSHIT.