What was Really Found

Remember that recent study that got all the publicity about overweightness and obesity not being such a big deal? Well, fabulous science writer, Rebecca Skloot, explains it all in a way that makes sense. Thank you!

My maths and science education sort of petered out in about year seven, so I’m always incredibly grateful for anyone who can help me understand such matters.


  1. David Moles on #

    On first quick skim I read study showing that skyrocketing obesity rates are shortening life spans [more] than the impact of car accidents, homicides and suicides combined. as somehow implying a causal relationship between obesity and car accidents, homicides, and suicides. (And I thought: never know, could be true…)

  2. Justine on #

    And that’s why you must never quickly skim anything!

  3. janet on #

    That coverage just infuriated me, but unfortunately it’s typical of science news coverage. There’s never any discussion of what it means when *one* study shows an apparent correlation between two phenomena. (Hint, it doesn’t mean much, especially if 10 previous studies have shown no link.)

    My personal hobby horse is that lifespan is a red herring; as rebecca skloot says, we’re very good at keeping unhealthy people alive (including me, by the way, so it’s not like I’m complaining). But really, if you want to convince someone to exercise, quit smoking, and eat a healthier diet, which is more motivating:

    a) You might prevent a heart attack, stroke, or cancer, and you might live a bit longer.

    b) You’ll feel better and be able to do more of the things you enjoy doing. You will almost certainly be healthier during the last years of your life.

    Is this even a difficult question? I mean, would you rather live to be 90 and be bedridden for the last 10 years of your life, or be able to travel and play with your grandchildren up until a week before you die, even if you “only” make it to 85?

  4. Justine on #

    The mainstream media’s reporting of science drives me crazy as well, especially as most of the time I’m not on top of the issues and I’m looking to them to clue me in. When even someone as science ignorant as me can tell there’s something off about the reporting then we’re in trouble.

    Nope, it’s not a difficult question. I choose fit and healthy living to 85!

  5. niki on #

    so hows the fit and healthy living going 😉 – I’ve had a good dose of the heathrow injection !!

  6. Justine on #

    Niki: “heathrow injection”?

  7. niki on #

    Heathrow Injection n. Term given to the phenomenon of sudden and very rapid horizontal expansion, particularly experienced by non-British persons, upon settling in London.

  8. Justine on #

    that’s hilarious! Is it the stodgy horrible british food?

  9. niki on #

    it’s many many things ….

Comments are closed.