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NPR's "The Conversation"

So, during work today, I had to run to Seattle to order my glasses from Eyes on Fremont.  It's actually the same place I got my last glasses from.  And I've had them for over 3 years, so I'm certainly ready for a new pair.  I'll post a pic of them when I get them.  They're funky, but still classic--kinda! 

But, anyway, I was listening to "The Conversation" on NPR.  They were talking about incentivizing weight loss (with regard to Health Insurance Premiums), and without going too far into that subject--though Anna and I had a good conversation about it over dinner--I was struck by a stat/comment one of the guests spoke about.  She said that a lot of studies (I think she said over 40) have "shown" that "overweight" people live longer than "normal" people.  And that "minimally obese" people live about as long as "normal" wasn't until you got to "obese" people that you'd find someone who would live shorter than "normal" people.  Now, I do certainly not agree with BMI as an accurate or good measurment--I guess that's my generally skeptical nature.  And that translates to my reaction to the guest's comment.  I don't know the basis of those studies, but I'm not sure if those studies she mentioned too everything into account.  Sure, on paper, "overweight" people may live longer, but it's hard to tell why.  Is it overall health?  Maybe.  But my first thought is that maybe it seems that overwieght people live longer because they live more sedintary lives than "normal" or skinny people who can do more high-risk things: like fight in the in military, serve in law enforcement, play (extreme) sports, etc.  Of course, there are still overweight people in those professions, but I'm thinking they're not represented in the same proportion as in the rest of the population.  What do you think?  Can that play a role?  I don't know. 

Also, I fasted today--another great experience!  But just a little hint: NEVER break a fast with a smoked, pickled habenero.  That's death.  Sweet, smoky, tasty, dumb death.

Up to Monday:
1- 15 minute session on the Elliptical
1- 20 minute session on the Treadmill
1- 10 minute session on the Stairmaster
90 sit ups
Walk 2 miles
1 set of 2- 60 second planks
Read the Bible Daily
Pray Daily

4- 15 minute sessions on the Elliptical
4- 20 minute sessions on the Treadmill
4- 10 minute sessions on the Stairmaster
120 sit ups
Walk 10 miles
2 DVD workouts
3 sets of 2- 60 second planks
Read the Bible Daily
Pray Daily
Date with Anna


  Call me Ishmael

November 17, 2009 at 8:40 AM

Hey Beej,

I'm going to try and listen to that show if I can find it on NPR's web site. I have read one study that said it's a help to your body if you carry a few extra pounds (like 10) on your frame as you get older. Significantly older. I saw this with my own Nana. She lived to be just shy of 95. She was known as a hearty lass in her day -- about 5'3, and a solid 145lbs pretty much all her life. That would make her slightly overweight by today's charts, I think. It was just the way she was built -- didn't lose much, never gained much. And it helped her live a good long life, the doctors said. The theory is that having some extra fuel handy will aid an older person in fighting off opportunistic infections and the like. A remnant from the days when food was not plentiful. The appetite sinks when one gets older, usually, and when one is sick. So older people with poor nutrition are very prey to getting carried off by infections. Those with a little extra fat to power the body have a better chance of fending off the illness. I think the most damaging thing to be, healthwise, is sedentary. Be you thin or chubby, if you don't move, you lose. And of course, being really seriously overweight. I think that cancels out any benefits during an illness, because being obese puts a whole different strain on the body. But yeah, I think it's safe to say that carrying a few extra pounds isn't an automatic negative for good health, especially later in life. As long as those pounds don't go too high.

BMI is the bane of my family's existence. None of us (except my mom, who got her dad's skinny frame) ever fit neatly into those categories. Not even my marathon runner aunt, who is lean and mean at 5'4. She gets really tired of hearing her doctor tell her she's at the "high end" of her BMI chart. All those things I think have to be taken in accordance with how you feel -- most of the time, your body knows best.


November 17, 2009 at 9:05 AM

I'm interested to see these studies too. Perhaps overweight people might live longer, but what it the quality of their life like? How many meds are they taking at 50 that "normal" weight people might not start until 70? How many suffer from diabetes or hip/knee pain, or other ailments.

I want to know that I'm living life to the fullest - something I hadn't been doing prior to making this commitment. I don't wanna be diabetic like my mother. Or have COPD like my grandfather. Or die from a heart attack (heart disease) like my grandfather. I was right on track for all of these had I not changed course. Quality of life means so much more to me than length of life.

The pepper line at the end cracked me up!!


November 17, 2009 at 5:10 PM

I have no thoughts on living longer if you are overweight.

But I did get a big chuckle out of not breaking your fast with a hot pepper. LOL!

  South Beach Steve

November 17, 2009 at 6:48 PM

Oh, that last comment was too much! I can totally sympathize with you. I am still laughing though. :-)

I think the difference is that what is classified as overweight is not that big. It is just carrying a little extra body fat. Some fat is good for us. That being said, I want to see my abs. Is that healthy long term? Yes and no. It is probably more healthy to have a little fat on us, but that doesn't mean what we would probably call overweight. Just my 2 cents worth.