In the category of why-is-this-so-hard-to-believe, Reuters reports that the effects of the so-called "obesity paradox" have prevailed in yet another study, this one on people with heart disease and high blood pressure.
The results substantiate earlier results showing the now-famous J-shaped mortality curve described by Dr. Katherine Flegal, wherein overall mortality rates are highest at either end of the spectrum and lowest in those in the "overweight" category. What's significant about this study is that it concentrated on people with heart disease--who are, if you listen to the media at all on this subject, in imminent danger of death if they carry even a couple of "extra" pounds.
This study of 22,576 people with high blood pressure and coronary artery disease found that
compared to normal-weight subjects with a BMI between 20 and 25, the risk of death, heart attack, or stroke was lower in subjects who were overweight (BMI 25 to 30), and in those with class I obesity (BMI 30 to 35) and class II-III obesity (BMI 35 or greater).
The article is accompanied by--what else?--the obligatory shot of headless fatties. And its wrap-up leaves something to be desired:
In a commentary, Dr. Carl J. Lavie and colleagues of the Ochsner Medical Center, New Orleans caution that while improved outcomes appear to be consistently associated with increased BMI, "one should not conclude that weight reduction is detrimental in overweight populations."
I'm not sure what we should be concluding then, except that the media coverage on this subject is, as usual, beyond biased.