Sunday, December 09, 2007


To my feeble brain, the first report below seems to be contradicted by the two reports following it

Sedentary jobs negate benefits of exercise: study

Thirty minutes of exercise a day is not enough to prevent obesity and diabetes in people who spend long periods doing nothing. New research shows that sitting in front of a computer all day may negate the health benefits of exercise. Ever since Norm and his "Life Be In It" ads encouraged us to get off the couch and do some sport, Australians have been told that 30 minutes of exercise a day is good for our health.

Researchers at the International Diabetes Institute in Melbourne studied more than 8,000 people over the age of 35 who did not suffer from diabetes. The study found that the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day is not enough to prevent obesity and diabetes in people who also spend long periods doing nothing.

Associate Professor David Dunstan from the International Diabetes Institute led the research. "Using objective measurements of physical activity, that is, using an accelerometer, [we found] that people are spending up to six or seven hours in a seated position or doing nothing during the day," he said. "So what this research is showing is that possibly our modern environment, whereby we're required to sit for prolonged periods, may be contributing to the diabetes and obesity epidemics."

Assoc Prof Dunstan says even if people exercise for the minimum of 30 to 150 minutes each day, if they sit down for several hours they might not be reaping the health benefits. "Even in those people that are achieving that level [of exercise], if they are watching, for instance, television for greater than three to four hours a day, then watching the television increases the risk of diabetes and obesity," he said. "So we're not entirely sure at the moment because this is a fairly new area, maybe going out to the gym and doing the 30 minutes of exercise may not be enough to offset any potential bad effects of sitting on their rear ends for the rest of the day."

The study, which was first published in the US journal Diabetes Care in March, has been followed up with more research by University of Queensland scientists. Assoc Prof Dunstan says this new research shows if people break up their sitting time with a simple walk around the office, they are more likely to increase their metabolic rate. "People who break up their sitting time ... those that are intermittently obtaining what we call incidental physical activity, that is the light activity, those that are breaking up more throughout the day have a lower risk of diabetes," he said. "Those that are getting up and moving about the office, for instance walking to a colleague rather than emailing a colleague, getting up and walking to the photocopier."


Fat and Fit? New Research Rebuffs Obesity Activists' Weight-Obsessed Food Crusades

"You can't tell just by looking at someone if they are fit. You can certainly be fat, even obese, and still be fit . Often the public discussion stops with fatness, but we tried to go beyond that." That's health professor Steven Blair, co-author of a new study published today in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) that puts the fat-fixated dogmas of the nation's food activists to the test. What did Blair and his colleagues at the University of South Carolina find? Regardless of body weight, adults over 60 who are physically active live longer than their couch-bound counterparts. As lead researcher Dr. Xuemi Sui put it to the AFP: "We observed that fit individuals who were obese ... had a lower risk of all-cause mortality than did unfit, normal-weight, or lean individuals."

This JAMA study is just the latest entry in a long line of scientific research showing that physical inactivity, not excess food consumption, is the real culprit behind many of the health problems associated with obesity. And, as we've been saying for years, what's really unhealthy isn't weight itself, but the activist-driven public obsession with weight -- which redirects energies away from programs that encourage exercise and toward ineffective legal controls on food choices.

Today's news makes the message in our new report on how physical activity has been engineered out of modern life even more important. Everyday conveniences make it all too easy to stay stationary. So if you're looking to get healthy, small changes to ordinary behavior that get you moving are the way to go. Constantly fretting about your waistline isn't.


Exercise can prevent Alzheimer's

Regular exercise can cut the risk of Alzheimer's disease by a third while a lack of physical activity can lead to depression and dementia, according to scientists. A study by the University of Bristol, based on 17 trials, found that physical activity was associated with a 30-40 per cent reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's. Separate evidence presented to the British Nutrition Foundation conference linked a lack of exercise to depression and dementia.

It is unclear why exercise has such a great effect but it could be associated with benefits to the vascular system as well as release of chemicals in the brain. Judy Buttriss, director general at the BNF, said that given people were living longer, the implications of such studies were "enormous".



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].

9). And how odd it is that we never hear of the huge American study which showed that women who eat lots of veggies have an INCREASED risk of stomach cancer? So the official recommendation to eat five lots of veggies every day might just be creating lots of cancer for the future! It's as plausible (i.e. not very) as all the other dietary "wisdom" we read about fat etc.

10). And will "this generation of Western children be the first in history to lead shorter lives than their parents did"? This is another anti-fat scare that emanates from a much-cited editorial in a prominent medical journal that said so. Yet this editorial offered no statistical basis for its opinion -- an opinion that flies directly in the face of the available evidence.

Even statistical correlations far stronger than anything found in medical research may disappear if more data is used. A remarkable example from Sociology:
"The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre's yield of cotton. He calculated the correla-tion coefficient between the two series at -0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi-tions and lynchings in Raper's data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal-ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic conditions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added."
So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. But in medical research, data selectivity and the "overlooking" of discordant research findings is epidemic.


No comments: