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There are three statements pretty much everyone can agree with: The earth is round, the sky is blue, and finally, weighing more is bad for you.
But what if we’ve gotten it wrong? What if the dangers of being heavy have been overstated, or misrepresented? A small but vocal contingent of experts and advocates say just that, arguing that our weight bias has led us astray, focusing on the scale too much and not enough on healthy behaviors.
A higher body-mass index, or BMI, is associated with greater risk of many diseases, from high blood pressure and diabetes to stroke and different kinds of cancer. But this is an example of correlation being conflated with causation, a classic statistical error, said Traci Mann, a psychologist who runs a health and eating lab at the University of Minnesota.
In a new episode of Bloomberg’s podcast series “Losing It,” we explore the relationship between health and weight, including other factors that could explain the link between higher weight and health risks. One of them? Yo-yo dieting, or when people repeatedly lose and gain weight.
“This is the problem that we have in America,” said Glenn Gaesser, a professor of exercise physiology at Arizona State University. “We think weight is the big issue when it’s really not.” Listen to the episode here.
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