Obesity Linked to Dementia; Obesity Studies Linked to Shitty Behavior

Illustration for article titled Obesity Linked to Dementia; Obesity Studies Linked to Shitty Behavior

Great! Just what fat people need. A Korean study released this week links high BMI and high levels of abdominal fat to "lower cognitive function" and dementia later in life. So now anti-fat crusaders can be sure to let fat people know that they're not just fat and lazy and disgusting, they're also fucking stupid! Because science! Eat less, exercise more, dummy! Ordinarily I wouldn't have given this study the time of day, but now that I live in Los Angeles I can confirm that skinny people are HELLA SMART. It's a direct correlation. The younger and skinnier you are, the more of a fucking genius you are. In fact, my broom regularly beats me at chess.

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But of course it's more complicated than that. Quoth ABC News:

The study, published in the journal Age and Aging, included 250 people older than 59 who underwent a variety of weight measurement, scans and cognitive performance tests. People between 60 and 70 with the highest BMIs were linked to the lowest cognitive function.

So high BMI is linked to brain decline in old people! Seems simple enough. Except…that it isn't:

"A higher BMI is related to lower dementia risk in the oldest old. It is possible that persons with low BMI lost their weight because of premorbid dementia," Yoon said. "It is also possible that a low BMI is the consequence of hyperinsulinemia (high insulin levels), which precedes weight loss and is related to higher dementia risk."

Oooookay. I'm certainly not trying to stifle science here-obviously studies like this can have beneficial impacts on medicine and public health. But they also tend to get oversimplified in ways that have significant and damaging social impacts. If it were legal, anti-fat maniacs would marry headlines like "Obesity Might Lower Cognitive Function."

Oh, and then there's this, in the news on the same day! If you value your cognitive function (as per the above), be sure to NEVER EVER eat hamburgers! But if you value your mental health, be sure to EAT ALL THE HAMBURGERS. Daily Mail:

Women who cut red meat out of their diet are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, according to a study.

Those who eat less than the recommended amount of lamb and beef were twice as likely to be diagnosed with the mental health disorders, researchers in Australia have found.

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So here are your choices, fat people. You can eat delicious beef and get dementia (or maybe not! It's never that simple!), or you can never eat delicious beef and live with crippling depression. If you could do both at the same time, that would be ideal. You're making the people who hate you uncomfortable.

DISCUSSION

zeeniebb
zeeniebb

a) A fairly well known women's blog in the US regularly publishes outrageous and inaccurate articles about scientific studies (usually without even looking at said studies).

b) A large number of Americans assume that women cannot be good at Science.

Should I hypothesize that:

1. (a) leads to (b)

2. (a) proves that the assumption in (b) is correct

3. (a) and (b) are correlated

Seriously Jezebel, please stop embarrassing yourself by writing such poorly researched articles about scientific studies. Scientists don't have any hidden agenda against women or fat people. They are not doing this to fat shame, they are just telling you how body weight might affect ageing. Would you also prefer if there were no studies on nutrition, smoking, addiction and alcohol...those might also be used to shame a particular group. How is the attitude in this post any different from that of people who deny climate change or say that abortions cause breast cancer and make fun of scientists?

"Those who eat less than the recommended amount of lamb and beef were twice as likely to be diagnosed with the mental health disorders, researchers in Australia have found."

How does this sentence lead you to conclude that "if you value your mental health, be sure to EAT ALL THE HAMBURGERS."? Read again, it says "recommended amount of lamb and beef".

Articles like this and defensive comments against scientific studies do a lot of disservice to people who might actually be at risk due to poor nutrition or sedentary habits. I know there are plenty of overweight people who are healthy and plenty of skinny people who are unhealthy, but jumping down the throat of anybody who shows that there might be a correlation between weight and health is not helping anybody.

Also, comparing skinny people to brooms! How is that not body snarking?