longevity

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Study finds BMI to be deeply flawed measure of health

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The government has proposed rules that would allow employers to penalize employees for up to 30% of their health insurance costs if they don’t meet 24 health criteria one of which is the BMI, Body Mass Index.   It turns out that the BMI is a very unreliable indicator of health.    

From this LA times article, BMI mislabels 54 million Americans as 'overweight' or 'obese,' study says:

“A team of UCLA researchers analyzed data from 40,420 individuals who participated in the 2005-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and they found that nearly half (47.4%) of overweight people and 29% of obese people were, from a metabolic standpoint, quite healthy. On the flip side, more than 30% of individuals with “normal” weights were metabolically unhealthy.

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Caloric restriction and longevity

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A New York Times article, The Calorie-Restriction Experiment, details a study where researchers attempted to find out if eating less increased longevity. 132 men and women reduced their daily calories by 25 percent for two years to see if a Spartan diet affects the aging process and its associated diseases. 

Subjects experienced “astounding drops in cardiovascular risk factors”.

BUT, another quote:

“Ninety-nine percent can’t do it,” John Holloszy, a medical doctor who is the lead investigator at Washington University, told me. “The people in the study are not going to stick with it” after they leave.

Damn.  Two years to figure that out?

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Muscle mass a better predictor of longevity

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From this Scientific American article, Muscle Mass Beats BMI as Longevity Predictor:

“Researchers analyzed BMI and muscle mass data from more than 3,600 seniors in a long-term study. And they tracked which seniors had died, a decade later. Turns out BMI wasn't much good at predicting chance of death. 

But muscle mass was: more muscle meant better odds of survival.” 

BMI is a dubious measurement to begin with.  Pictured is Mike Tyson. According to BMI charts he would be classified as clinically obese. He is not fat and has substantial muscle mass.

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