Wednesday April 23, 2014

Obesity study a wake-up call

How it ever became a myth that obese people can still be healthy is beyond reasonable
explanation, but now that this so-called myth has been debunked, it’s up to doctors to get that message through to their patients.

Canadian researchers have again proven the obvious when it comes to fat — a lot of it is unhealthy. Indeed, obesity increases risk for Type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, some cancers and is linked to orthopedic problems, reproductive problems, depression, asthma, sleep apnea, renal disease, back pain, skin infections and cognitive decline.

In short, it can be a rough existence for someone carrying around a lot of extra weight.

Still, despite the problems linked to obesity, some of those who do fit that definition, roughly a body mass index of 30 or greater, are still able to perform well on metabolic tests.

For instance, despite their weight, patients can still test within normal ranges of cholesterol levels, blood-sugar levels and blood pressure. This, probably more than any other reason, has kept the myth alive that obesity can be benign.

The Canadian researchers found that despite a passable metabolic status, obesity still carries a higher risk of premature death compared to that of normal-weight people. In fact, people who were obese but metabolically healthy had a significantly increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke and of dying prematurely.

The results are a wake-up call to patients and doctors alike.

While the onus is mainly on obese people to find the supports they need to lose the weight, doctors are also a piece of the puzzle. It’s evident that if metabolic tests on the obese turn out well, doctors should do more than give their patients a thumbs-up and a gentle reminder to lose weight.

The evidence is overwhelming that obesity is unhealthy.

Doctors, more than anyone, know the evidence is overwhelming that obesity is unhealthy, making it imperative that they take this latest research seriously before it’s forgotten and the myth gets a second life.

We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.

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