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M. Simon

Smoke Cigarettes - Live Longer.



two words for a better life: grain alcohol

Bill from INDC

Yet you seem to make ideologically biased inferences in this post:

Overweight is actually healthier than what the government says is the "ideal" weight. And overweight is much healthier than what the government calls "underweight."

1. Define "much"

2. What is defined as "underweight" - correlated with poorer health - is also dependent on factors like anorexia, wasting diseases and genetic variations that predispose individuals to earlier mortality and health problems.

Yet the reaction of most grumpy conservative skeptics is to present the fact that being moderately overweight is healthier than being underweight as some "Ah-HA!" moment - and a license to behavior. In reality, drawing the opposite conclusion that the original flawed study drew is as bad as the original miscalculations.

Being defined as "overweight" is flawed because it's dependent on Body Mass Index and not an actual measure of obesity or central adiposity, the real conditions associated with increased inflammation, heart disease, diabetes and other deleterious processes. But it does have some utility.

3. The real number is closer to 100,000.

really? The fact is, because something like constant inflammation and elevated insulin levels due to being fat have such wide-ranging negative effects, involved in a whole host of chronic disease processes, you have NO IDEA what the "real" number is, anymore than the CDC. It might be 500,000, depending on the criteria.

NEXT: "And if you add in the lives saved by the protective effects of mild overweight, the number is closer to 25,000."

"Lives saved?" Again, a total logical fallacy. Just because certain individuals - on average - have better health while being moderately overweight - as compared to those that are underweight - it does not follow that the reason that they have better health is because they are moderately overweight. This is not a "protective" effect.

These individuals may have a healthier genetic profile that predisposes them to better average health - and the capability to be overweight - despite the fact that they have excess weight, whereas many of the chronically underweight individuals might have genetic predispositions to disease and mortality related to the fact that they are underweight. And vice versa. Too many factors to make such an assertion.

While Spurlock may be using overly general, flawed data to push a premise - engaging in false conclusions and inferences - so are his critics.

On a micro level, obesity and the modern American diet kills you. There are plenty of data to back this up. In his documentary, for example, the short term blood test results are remarkable. Controlled studies on statistically significant populations show similar problems with lots of everyday foods.

On a macro level, there is insufficient information to validate the logical inferences from that micro level data.

In order to demonstrate the effect of obesity on a macro level, one would need -

1. To use a more specific measure than BMI to determine weight associated with health risk factors, like "central adiposity"

2. Determine accurate, acceptable criteria as to what consititutes an illness related to obesity, and successfully apply it to a large population.

This is impossible to do with pinpoint accuracy, but given the smaller studies, the impact ranges from heart disease to diabetes to cancer. So it could be quite a bit bigger than 100,000, but any measure will always be a guesstimate.

Gabriel Chapman

Any data set that draws from the horrible BMI (body mass index) is going to be flawed to the point of being worthless.

Spurlock is a charlatan who appears to be easily duped by the special intrest lobbys who are using him and his 15 minutes to mislead the public.

Keep the pressure up on this clown.

Brian Carnell

Its good to point this out, but Spurlock could not have been aware of the CDC's error prior to this book being written.

Imagine the CDC recalculates again tomorrow and discovers that there was yet another error and that not only is the study true, but 800,000 rather than 400,000 Americans die every year from obesity.

I could then post on my blog, "Morgan Spurlock Watch said the figure was wrong, but in fact it was right and the site was off by a factor of [whatever] in estimating deaths from obesity."

It seems a bit silly to hold Spurlock accountable for a screwed up CDC study that was only exposed long after his book was written and probably after his book actually went to print.

Jake Thompson

check out this movie... this guy refutes super size me:



Great blogsite! I saw one of Spurlocks show last week and knew beforehand his ineptitude on getting the facts down pat. Just wanted to see what it was like.

One thing though, please remove the picture of Spurlock in the upper left hand corner of your blog with him holding the two Big Macs to his chest...it's quite disturbing looking at that photo...seriously.
Paris Hilton would do so much better.


You are incorrect in citing mild overweight has health benefits. You do not cite the source for this assertion but if it is the recent study that indicated those underweight had a slightly lowered life expectancy -- it was later demonstrated that this was because the study also included subjects who were underweight because they were suffering from diseases such as cancer and aids. In other words, that study is not a valid proof of your assertion.

In fact, a number of studies indicate that even mild obesity significantly raises your risk for heart disease and other ailments and there is evidence that the U.S. is about suffer a rare decline in national life expectancy -- due in large part to obesity.

I'd post documentation but youur comment field won't allow it.

I mean--really. If you want to consume a poor diet and suffer the consequences that's your business. But you really shouldn't go around spreading incorrect infromation because it suits some agenda you have--that's exactly what you accuse Spurlock of.

By the way, life expectancy isn't the only issue--though it certainly is. A life with, say, diabetes (which is on the rise in this country due to the obesity problem) may not be as pleasant--needles, diet monitoring, etc.--as one without diabetes. Risks to your back, spine, knees, hips, etc. are also increased, even with mild overweight, leading to a lifetime of pain when these things develop problems...


The June issue of Scientific American (http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&colID=1&articleID=000E5065-2345-128A-9E1583414B7F0000) included a major review of obesity's impact on health and concluded that the risk has been grossly overblown. Worth a read.

The Kid

“A waist is a terrible thing to mind.”

I don’t recall who first uttered these words, but I second them.



Is obesity fatal? Possibly, but then again I certainly am.

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hey !!
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thank you ;)

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Great blogsite! I saw one of Spurlocks show last week and knew beforehand his ineptitude on getting the facts down pat. Just wanted to see what it was like.

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Having said all this, I suppose somewhere in the fog there is a point to it all. My best guess is this is an attempt to explain that when I complain about being exhausted; when I say I would love to do whatever but really, I need to sleep; when I actually sleep for several days and ignore emails and phone calls, it really is simply part of this disease I have. The very best analogy I can come up with only works for some people. I Sometimes I just feel like I've got mono to the power of ten.

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