Eat More? Smoke More? Move Less?

February 12, 2008 at 3:15 am Leave a comment

It’s reported that two-thirds of Americans are now overweight or obese and struggle to stay in shape. While that’s generally seen as a bad thing for us as individuals and as a society, a study released last week suggested that it isn’t as bad as we’ve been thinking, at least not from the standpoint of healthcare costs. Turns out, thin, healthy people are more expensive to treat in the long run.

I blogged about it in the post “Rockin’ My World“.

I have concerns about legislating for “bad” personal behavior because the definition of “bad” changes so frequently. This study is a classic example of what I’m talking about, although it doesn’t address concerns beyond healthcare costs related to overweight and inactivity.

Following my idea through is the editorial “Light up, get fat — it’s the patriotic thing“.  In this editorial, the writer says “…the lesson of this study is clear: Stop exercising, bloat up on empty calories, take up the tobacco habit.”

On the surface, it’s laughable. Of course, we’re not going to permanently ensconce ourselves on the couch, one hand holding a carton of ice cream and the other a cigarette, just on the basis of this study! But, the point is well made. We need to thoughtfully evaluate these studies, ask ourselves what other conclusions could have been drawn, think about the possible limitations of the study. Then, we need to work on our diet-and-exercise plans according to our own personal situations and issues.

Food and fitness data can change on a daily basis. It’s up to us to mandate our own lifestyle changes. That’s the only way we’ll be successful anyway.

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Entry filed under: news around the blogosphere, science. Tags: , , .

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