19 comments on “Timmy elsewhere

  1. You’re presuming he really is ignorant – much more likely he’s politicking (being dishonest).

    But to answer your question: Was there ever a time that we weren’t?

  2. The WHO says:

    Overweight and obesity are leading risks for global deaths. Around 3.4 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese.

    The science begs to differ:

    Association of All-Cause Mortality With Overweight and Obesity Using Standard Body Mass Index CategoriesA Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
    Katherine M. Flegal, PhD; Brian K. Kit, MD; Heather Orpana, PhD; Barry I. Graubard, PhD, JAMA. 2013;309(1):71-82.

    This recently published study found:

    “Grade 1 obesity (BMI of 30-35) who are at greater risk.

    Another study from Canada was published in 2010:

    BMI and mortality: results from a national longitudinal study of Canadian adults.
    Orpana HM, Berthelot JM, Kaplan MS, Feeny DH, McFarland B, Ross NA. Health Analysis Division, Statistics Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

    This study concluded:

    “Our results are similar to those from other recent studies, confirming that underweight and obesity class II+ (BMI 35+) are clear risk factors for mortality, and showing that when compared to the acceptable BMI category, overweight appears to be protective against mortality. Obesity class I was not associated with an increased risk of mortality.” (My bold).

    The relative risk for the underweight (1.73) was significantly higher than that for mordidly obese (1.36).

    So we shouldn’t be worrying about the overweight or mildly obese. We need to get the morbidly obese down to these healthy weights and get the underweight and those at the lower end of normal to put a few pounds on. Maybe prescriptions for sugary drinks and Maccas.

  3. Leadership of public organizations depends on an ability to survive boredom, compromise and horsetrading through rounds of meetings with boring, self-promoting, narrative-driven, smug gits: that commonsense should be absent in those who rise to the top, should be no surprise.

  4. I don’t believe the cost thing. Diabetes for starters costs more to treat over the average lifetime than four hip replacements. It’s not the drugs, it’s the doctor time and the complications.

    The obese, unlike smokers, surely don’t die young enough cf the general population to save much health costs. In fact, it’s arguable they die younger at all.

  5. That study (or at least the intro that I read) says that total lifetime expenditure on non-smoking non-obese is higher. But it makes no allowance for reduced productivity. Nor (as far as I can tell) does it discount for accelerated expenditure. It might be a good deal to spend a bit more on someone who works and pays taxes a few more years, particularly if that extra spending only starts in 20 years’ time.

  6. Could we start prosecuting people for dishonestly using the phrase “overweight and obese” to mean “obese”?

    If my BMI is 25, I am healthy. If I put a pound on and my BMI goes up to 25.1, I am “overweight”. According to this dishonest conflation, suddenly I am one of ‘millions’ who will waddle sadly around costing the country loads of money before I die early.

    Anyone who uses it uses it deliberately and is a politician and a liar.

  7. The science begs to differ

    Not if you do it right. There are two confounding factors in this sort of analysis:
    – sick people tend to lose weight.
    – people who give up smoking tend to put on weight.

    If you confine your sample to healthy people who’ve never smoked, and plot mortality data for the next ten years, you get the sort of J-shaped curve you might expect from mortality data for specific diseases.

  8. Isn’t the main point that we pay for healthcare because we want it and can afford it, not necessarily that it’s economically rational? In the latter case we’d ban pensioners from going to the doctor.

    Of course, somehow even the most right-on redistributive socialist can find a good reason not to pay for your healthcare, you smoky fatso.

  9. DocBud: James I was supposedly quite intelligent.

    Wasn’t he known as The wisest fool in Christendom? Educated, but lacking common sense. He’d fit right in with the current lot.

  10. “JERKS insist on picking up the tab, then complain about the cost.” – GC

    It is the role of the press in a free society to keep the people informed. The press, instead of “speaking truth to power,” are cheerleaders for the government agenda. That’s how it happens.

  11. What is doing it right, PaulB?

    I’d have thought that what is relevant in assessing or determining public policy is what is happening to the population as a whole, not a subset of the population. Whatever measure you use, you’ll get a U-curve, J-curve or hockey stick from such a study, the key is where the curve bottoms.

    The data you present are somewhat different from the data from the studies I referenced, but I do not think significantly so. They show that the risks of being underweight increase at a rate much greater than those for being obese, and that the relative risks for being overweight, if at all, are negligible compared to being of supposedly normal weight.

  12. DocBud: it depends what question you want to answer.

    As a matter of public health policy, the question might be
    “does putting on weight reduce your life expectancy?”, to which the answer seems to be
    “yes, so long as you’re not currently underweight, and you’re not putting it on as a result of giving up smoking”.

    If the question were “does losing weight increase your life expectancy” the answer might be
    “yes, if you’re currently overweight or, more so, obese, but not if you’re losing weight because you’re ill”.

  13. And regardless of weight you can still die in a car crash.
    Nothing at all related to the obesity issue or complications arising from age.

  14. Paul>

    I don’t think you’re on very solid ground there. You can take the unadulterated figures and treat them as a data point, without relying on them to any great degree because they’re going to have confounding factors. What you can’t do is start removing confounding factors unless you have some way of being sure you’ve got them all (or at least the significant ones).

    For every ‘sick people lose weight’, there’s a ‘rich people are less likely to be overweight’.

    “If you confine your sample to healthy people who’ve never smoked”

    Then the chances of your sample adequately representing the general population are nil.

    I’m really not sure this one will ever be picked-apart properly, because diet, weight, lifestyle and health are all linked. If someone’s overweight because their work-life balance is wrong and they spend too long sitting at a desk, it’s likely they’re also going to have a fairly stressful life. Are any health problems due to one or the other, or a combination of both?

  15. Bloke in Germany – “Isn’t the main point that we pay for healthcare because we want it and can afford it, not necessarily that it’s economically rational? In the latter case we’d ban pensioners from going to the doctor.”

    It was introduced as an economically rational programme. Bevin thought it would save money. And we do, sort of, ban pensioners going to the doctor. NICE looks at the cost of treatments based on QALYs. Old people tend not to have many of those left in them.

    “Of course, somehow even the most right-on redistributive socialist can find a good reason not to pay for your healthcare, you smoky fatso.”

    And God help you if you ever beat your wife.

    But as far as the ignorant scum who rule us, I was pleased to see a little push back in Pakistan of all places:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-2759602/Dramatic-moment-furious-passengers-prevent-Pakistan-politician-boarding-flight-delayed-two-hours-arrived.html

    ‘No, no, no, sir,’ one of the passengers responds. ‘We’ve taken it for too long. For 68 years. Are we going to take it for another 68 years?’

    I feel you, bro. I really do.

  16. @ SMFS
    Bevin or Bevan? Very different guys, and Bevan managed to remain fat throughout more than a decade of rationing (of course rules don’t apply to left-wing politicians).

  17. @: Dave
    PaulB is just pointing out the sensible factors ignored in a simplistic analysis.
    He has quoted the main first degree approximations and you seem to be picking him apart for omitting to mention second-degree approximations. His message is that we need to recognise that it’s not that simple – and your reply is that “it’s not that simple”.

  18. john77 – “Bevin or Bevan? Very different guys, and Bevan managed to remain fat throughout more than a decade of rationing (of course rules don’t apply to left-wing politicians).”

    Of course in a thread decrying the ignorance of politicians I am going to make a mistake. Nye Bevan took the Tories NHS and claimed all the credit. Ernie Bevin re-introduced slavery to these bless’d isles by sending boys down the coal mines whether they wanted to or not.

    Both a bit on the chubby side to be honest.

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