Friday, August 10, 2007

Study shows marriage partly governed by fat levels

SOME fall for beautiful eyes while others are smitten with a smile. But when it comes to deciding on true love, you might be better off looking at your intended's waistline. Scientists have shown that we tend to marry partners with a similar level of body fat to our own. Flab, or the lack of it, is just as important as background, class or age in determining who we choose to spend our lives with.

It is thought the phenomenon - known as assortative mating - could be a key factor in the obesity epidemic. Children of overweight couples are likely to inherit genes that make them prone to putting on weight too, and so be more likely to have a weight problem themselves. "If someone who is overweight or obese marries someone who is overweight or obese, their children could have a genetic disposition to obesity," researcher Diane Jackson said.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found body scans of 42 couples showed they shared similar levels of body fat. The finding held true even when factors which can influence weight, such as age and class, were taken into account.

The study also showed that rather than couples simply growing fat together, they actually started off that way. "In the 1940s and 1950s, people mostly got married in their early 20s before they were overweight or obese," researcher Professor John Speakman said. "So it would have been difficult for them to assortatively mate for body fatness because it would have been impossible to distinguish somebody who was thin from somebody who was thin but going to become fat.

"Nowadays, we choose partners and have children much later, but if we are going to become obese, on average we do so much younger. "This makes it possible for potential partners to select each other on the basis of body fatness. "What is currently unclear is how these associations come about. "Perhaps the social activities of the overweight and obese people coincide, making them more likely to meet partners who are also overweight or obese."


Contraceptive pill could thwart cancer for 20 years

THE contraceptive pill can protect a woman against ovarian cancer for at least 20 years after she stops taking it, scientists have revealed. The largest study of its kind has found that the longer a woman uses the contraceptive, the less likely she is to develop the disease. Taking the pill for five to 10 years gave her the best protection when she stopped using it, the scientists said. Even after a 20-year gap, women's chances of developing ovarian cancer were cut by almost half when compared to those who had never used oral contraceptives.

Previous research has recognised that the pill gives protection against ovarian cancer. However, experts say this 28-year study, which involved more than 100,000 women, examines the long-term effects of different contraceptive methods. The findings, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, suggested the protecting effect might come about because women on the pill did not produce eggs. The normal process of egg release triggers cell damage and repair that raises the risk of tumour development.



Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

Trans fats:

For one summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and the evidence of lasting harm from them is dubious. By taking extreme groups in trans fats intake, some weak association with coronary heart disease has at times been shown in some sub-populations but extreme group studies are inherently at risk of confounding with other factors and are intrinsically of little interest to the average person.


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