Posts Tagged ‘Public Health’

Guess Who, Fat Boy?

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Earlier this week, the Journal of the American Medical Association came out with a huge study of obesity that concludes that the obesity hysterics are, indeed, hysterical. Their results indicate that being moderately overweight or even very mildly obese doesn’t make you more likely to die than a thin person. In fact, it may make you less likely to die, to the tune of 6%. (Severe obesity, however, did show a strong connection to higher death rates).

Now you would think that this would be greeted with some skeptical enthusiasm. If the results are born out by further study, it would mean we do not have a massive pending public health crisis on our hands. It means that instead of using cattle prods to get moderately overweight people into the gym, we can concentrate on really obese people.

So is the health community greeting this with relief? Not exactly:

That’s the wrong conclusion, according to epidemiologists. They insist that, in general, excess weight is dangerous. But then they have to explain why the mortality-to-weight correlation runs the wrong way. The result is a messy, collective scramble for excuses and explanations that can make the new data fit the old ideas.

William Saletan at Slate lists a dozen different explanations for why this study is wrong, definitely wrong, absolutely wrong, no sir. Most of these cross him (and me) as trying to rationalize away an inconvenient scientific result.


Politically Incorrect Linkorama

Sunday, March 28th, 2010
  • Is diversity training a sham? It wouldn’t surprise me at all. But I’d never admit it in print.
  • OK, I’ll admit it. I read this article because someone linked it up as an article about strippers. But, if you can get by the author’s decolletage, it’s a very fascinating article about how Massachusetts law is making life more difficult for strippers in the name of helping them. (It also confirms that my acquaintance who stripped her way through college and into law school was not unique. And no, she was a friend of a friend. I didn’t meet her in a professional context.)
  • I’m cooking up a post, not sure for which site, that would infuriate my old feminist philosophy professor. It may be a while, but I’ll link up this story, about the myth that sex slaves are pulled in for sporting events. What’s amazing is how many members of the religious right and feminist left will respond to this story with dismay — i.e., they’ll be disappointed that there is not a severe sex slave problem that they need to agitate about.
  • Was our War on Fat misguided? I find this especially interesting given an article I read last week about scientists mis-using statistics. We’ve seen this pattern from the Food Grabbers. Ten years ago, we all had to substitute trans fats into our diet. Now we have to get rid of them. Ten years from now they’ll be back. Personally, I think our evolved bodies are too kludgey for strict dietary rules.
  • Speaking of bad science, this sounds like hand writing analysis for the 21st century.
  • OK, enough political incorrectness. Back to plain old BS.

  • Ireland is cutting bureaucrat pay to balance their budget. There is no chance such a thing could happen in this country.
  • The massive epidemic of bad public defenders seems a case of being penny wise and pound foolish. A competent defenders would keep innocent people out of prison and keep appeals from dragging out, saving money in the long run.
  • Hugo Chavez takes Sean Penn’s advice and arrests the owner of the last free television station in Venezuela.
  • I can’t stand Ann Coulter. But I find the Canadian restrictions on free speech even more offensive.