Monday, January 31, 2005

News of the Fat

Another Study on obesity today in the NYT. This one, conducted by the Mayo clinic is interesting and as always the NYT is giving it all kinds of interesting implications. The Mayo Clinic's study took 20 individuals (NOT a big enough sample to be considered substantial, but still interestign) they studied their activity levels and ways of sitting and standing. They discovered that some people were predisposed to be inactive and that these people tended to be more obese than the active people. They also found that weight loss did not affect these activity levels.

Being an individual who is singularly itnerested in conserving effort at all costs I found it interesting that the findings said overwieght individuals tended to "conserve" energy. Conserving as many calories as possible. It is interesting that this today is a disadvantage where during humanity's more formative years it would have been a distinct advantage to conserve energy wherever possible, requiring less food when there was little.

But to my critique,

the New York Times says that "Biology may be why" this difference exists right in the headline. This, is highly misleading. For though it is possible that the difference is due to a biological factor, THIS STUDY IN NO WAY PROVES OR IMPLIES THIS. For though individuals may be predisposed to be more active or inactive this does not necessarily mean that it is written into their genetic code. However NYT let me down today though;

Study Shows Overweight People May Have Inactivity Gene AXcess News, NV - 14 hours ago

Congratulations AXcess News, you win my STUPID award for the day.

All this study proved is that some individuals are more disposed to be active than others and the more active individualds tend to be thinner as a result. (Surprise, burn more calories, lose more weight, who would have thought.) And this study did not confirm the idea that weight loss increases activity levels. So while there may be a disposition it is not necessarily biological or intrinsic to our personalities. They could find out that it is because they had a crappy gym teacher in 1st grade. You cannot imply ANY causes of this disposition from this study. All we can do is speculate, and speculation is a waste of my time.

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