Obesity is NOT a disease

Posted on May 8, 2012. Filed under: Nutrition | Tags: , , , , , , , |

I have had the pleasure of having open intellectual debates with people from a variety of paths. Doctors, lawyers, MMA coaches, kung Fu masters, engineers, and I always enjoy it.


It makes me think about what I think. And why I believe it.


Lately I have noticed a bit of marketing about the obesity epidemic… again. Apparently HBO has a documentary coming up about it. And thus has sparked people to ask me my opinion on things. This becomes awkward, since my view is not what you would expect a ‘fitness person’ to say. And I have learned to spot when people are asking me a question to affirm what they already believe.


I’m not good at answering those kinds of questions


So for the record, I do not believe there should be a junk food tax. As the idea of the government telling us what is and what is not healthy is WAY too slippery a slope

And Obesity is NOT a disease; it is at best, a symptom.


You can imagine how popular this viewpoint is. But I stand by it, and until we own up to it things are not going to get any better.


What’s the difference you might ask. Well, it’s like this say you have a cough. This cough however is a symptom of a greater problem, bronchitis. If all you do is take cough syrup. Are you going to get any better? The analogy is a simplified view, and I see obesity the same way.


Too often people obsess about the scale, but do absolutely nothing about the issues and behaviors that led to their condition in the first place.


More often than not, it’s these connections and behaviors which the person should be worrying about not their height/weight ratio.


Now I know there are some pretty smart people out there who insist obesity is a disease. To them I would pose this question, if obesity is a disease why is it sometimes healthier to be bigger.

  • A study in 2006 showed those who were obese had less risk of cardiac death than a ‘normal weight’ person (1)
  • They also have a better survival rate of dialysis (2)
  • And less likely to die from acute heart failure (3). In fact while obesity was rising, heart disease was dropping. (4)

Now before you run off and have a sundae, let me clarify. I am not suggesting it’s a good idea to carry an excess amount of fat on the body, or an excessive amount of weight for that matter. But the idea that we are in an obesity epidemic is ridiculous and unfounded by any logical way of thinking.


In my humble opinion, if we want the obesity rates to drop we need to start looking at it as a symptom of something else not the end result or cause. Inflammation, damage of fat cells, insulin insensitivity, and the influence of external cues all can play a role in one’s health; resulting in various symptoms, including excess weight or body fat.

In all honesty I used to get caught up in the media hype, I thought it was as simple as eat less and move more. Though that is where one must start. And by move I mean a barbell NOT Zumba. For many it’s not as simple as that.


However until we change our approach and stop leaving our fat loss to Dr Phil, we’re going to keep having these problems for a long time.

Keep Fitness Groovy

Coach W

  1. Kang X, et al., J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006 Apr 4;47(7):1418-26. Epub 2006 Mar 20. Impact of body mass index on cardiac mortality in patients with known or suspected coronary artery disease undergoing myocardial perfusion single-photon emission computed tomography
  2. Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, et al, Am J Clin Nutr March 2005 vol. 81 no. 3 543-554. Survival advantages of obesity in dialysis patients
  3. ADHERE Scientific Advisory Committee and Investigators, Am Heart J. 2007 Jan;153(1):74-81.  An obesity paradox in acute heart failure: analysis of body mass index and inhospital mortality for 108,927 patients in the Acute Decompensated Heart Failure National Registry.
  4. http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/10/30/heart.overview/index.html

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: