The newest phenomenon discovered in medicine is one few people want to discuss, even businesses that are probably snickering in delight. It's called the Obesity Survival Paradox. Essentially it means that fat to obese people live longer than people of normal weight. Apparently Reverse Epidemiology became known in 1999 with heart failure patients. It was found that a body mass index (NYSE:BMI) of 30.0 to 34.9 enjoyed lower mortality than normal weight patients. The same for peripheral artery disease and post recovery from cardiac bypass surgery.
Even fat people with health problems live longer than thinner people. Go figure.
Scientists point out this isn't the case for morbidly obese where there is a 30% higher risk of death. This news could crush the entire medical, fitness and exercise industries if highly publicized. But at this point it seems so counterintuitive than most people would still think their health was at risk with additional pounds.
Plus, there's still the feel good factor. There is no doubt thinner is sexier these days (paintings from the Old Masters suggest that wasn't always the case). Until Tom Brady's wife leaves him for one of the offensive lineman, being thinner also means being more attractive.
Still this is rattling a lot of cages.
Consequently I've read how this is an anomaly based on the fact older thin people are typically afflicted with something that skews the data. In other words, they are suffering from an ailment that actually makes them skinny in the first place. Or that the BMI isn't a good indicator of obesity since it reads muscle just as it reads fat. And there are so many health risks that are more prevalent in overweight people like high blood pressure, sleep apnea and diabetes. But, I bet now that you've read this you'll have less guilt eating that chocolate éclair tonight.
The Debt Ceiling is Only Symbolic
While President Obama was throwing down the gauntlet yesterday Ben Bernanke was taking a more nuanced approach to the debt ceiling debate. Calling it symbolic and suggesting it be removed once and for all, the Federal Reserve Chairman threw his weight behind the White House. Of course, considering their relationship one could argue runaway spending in Washington (none as prodigious as this administration) has created a symbiotic relationship between the Fed and White House.
In the meantime, President Obama talks about negative implications of our mountain of debt, but at the same time never mentioning how he plans to turn back the tide. I'm not talking about slowing its growth, as there isn't a lot of difference to when we hit the tipping point, the only question is what the magic number might be. You see, President Obama is treating the debt crisis as if it's not a crisis at all. In fact, one could say his administration sees something akin to a Debt Paradox.
The administration claims we are okay at the moment and there is no way to endure even a modicum of pain, let alone the kind of pain that comes from cutting back on mindless yet addictive spending. Right now our debt is obese and on its way to higher grades of obesity. Yes, it's something of a miracle we've been able to get along this far, but let's not mistake luck and legacy for a notion the debt ceiling isn't a big deal or even more could be a good thing. The clock is ticking and we could confound common sense and math for a bit longer.
In our heart of hearts and in our gut we know this is wrong but it feels too good. Maybe fat people live longer but I'm not going to stop hitting the treadmill and our nation should practice prudent and healthy choices before it's too late. That will not happen, even if brave lawmakers make a stand. Eventually the debt ceiling will be hiked and our economic BMI reading will go off the charts. You know ... maybe you should just have that chocolate éclair after all.