Battle of the Bulge

(May 1, 2018)

[Regular visitors to our blog will have guessed from the title that this posting is about obesity.  If you landed here looking for WWII material, you want the other Battle of the Bulge.]

As winter gives way to spring here in the Northern Hemisphere, many New Year's Resolutions, will have faltered.  Along with stopping smoking, losing weight is one of the more common goals, not least because the fortnight preceding the New Year is usually one of considerable excess in eating and drinking (that goes for this author, too).  However, reducing obesity and improving health is back on the agenda, as these are the specific aims of the UK's tax on sugary drinks, which was introduced in April 2018.

Losing weight (or, more accurately,…

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Tags: BMI, obsesity, sugar tax

Cart before Horse?

(Jul 26, 2016)

Predicting the exact impact of weight upon mortality has proven to be a tricky business. That obesity is on the rise is universally acknowledged, but in recent years we have seen research studies reach differing conclusions, depending on the populations examined and the measures used. For example, there has been debate over whether the breakpoints used to analyse BMI, the most prominent weight measure are appropriate in all populations. A key issue posited, however, has been that of "reverse causality" - which in this context is usually interpreted as the failure to adjust for weight scores that are considered "healthy" under the BMI scale but in fact derive from illness-related weight-loss. The question…

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Tags: mortality, research, reverse causality, obesity, BMI

Measuring obesity

(Jun 23, 2009)

Obesity is a public-health concern throughout the developed world, since it is linked to a variety of chronic conditions such as diabetes.  Obesity is also of interest to insurers, since it is linked to excess mortality from a wide range of causes, including heart disease.  The most commonly used measure of obesity is the body-mass index (BMI), which is calculated from a person's height and weight. The British Heart Foundation has an online BMI calculator which is free to use.

Now, the United Kingdom doesn't often take a leading role in the EU, but sadly obesity is one area where it rather stands out, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Prevalence of obesity among adults in selected large EU countries (Source: Health Interview…

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Tags: obesity, body-mass index, BMI, concentration risk, basis risk

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