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16 Replies to “Assorted Links”

  1. Interesting that in the study of mortality vs weight, the authors report the results for “overweight” and “Grade I Obesity” using rather different wording despite the fact that the numerical results were essentially the same:

    “overweight was associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality”


    “Grade 1 obesity overall was not associated with higher mortality”

  2. @Matt: it was a meta-analysis, maybe some of the original studies they analyzed did adjust for smoking. But it could also be that slightly overweight people try to limit their sugar consumption more than normal weight people, and as such end up healthier, or that they get more nutrition from eating more kcals..
    The Sierra club taking money doesn’t make much sense to me, you’re giving your most vocal opponents money? How does that make sense? If I have a political party, then surely the best way to spend money is to spend it on our own campaigns and not finance the campaigns of others?

    Seth: “How does that make sense?” Well, yes, it isn’t obvious. It makes sense because they will change. Political parties and gas companies have different goals. Political parties want to win elections, take over government. Gas companies want favorable treatment by government.

  3. @Nancy: Yes, 10-15 pounds, if uncorrected not accounted for, would have a massive effect. An average normal weight person who gains ten pounds will usually be pushed into the overweight category.

  4. It looks as if the mortality vs weight curve is U-shaped, with a rather flat minimum in the range 25<BMI<35. It would be clearer had they reported results for the scrawny (BMI<18.5) and separate results for not only the plump (grade 1 obese) but also the fat (grade 2 obese) and the spherical (grade 3).

    What chance that the scrawny die earlier than the fat? I think we should be told.

    I wonder whether the data sets are complete enough to allow recalculation using the new, improved definition of BMI proposed recently by some people at Oxford.

  5. Mind you, can it make any sense to recommend desirable BMIs without reference to age or sex (or, conceivably, race)?

    (I take it that the point of these correlative studies isn’t mere intellectual curiosity – they’re intended to yield recommendations, aren’t they?)

  6. “If you have a lot of money to spend, should you give it to those who agree with you or those who disagree with you? Which recipients will change more per dollar?”

    This would explain why the gas companies would offer the money. But I too am puzzled as to why the Sierra Club would accept it.

    And why all the secrecy?

    Seth: I am not puzzled. Sierra Club leaders accept it because “it’s for a good cause,” they tell themselves. They accept it in secret because they think their members will be outraged.

  7. I hate to break the news to Seth’s readers — but ALL of your favorite non-profit causes (environmental or otherwise) take money happily from their ostensible opponents – in fact, some orgs entire raison d’être has evolved is to extract money from their frenemies (shakedowns that benefit both parties), while the initial motivating cause is simply window-dressing.

  8. A rough Canadian equivalent to the Sierra Club is the Pembina Institute, and environmental think tank, focusing on energy issues.

    However, they take a different approach, and actively engage with energy companies (and government, and public), and even do corporate consulting” to most of the oil companies in Canada.

    I say a different approach as not only do they engage with these companies, and receive money from them for doing so, but do not try to hide the fact.

    How much change they have been able to achieve in their 30yrs of doing so is debatable, but the same question can be asked of the Sierra Club too. At least one of these bodies does not try to hide anything – if you disagree with what Pembina is doing, then you don;t have to donate/associate, but at least they are clear about what they are doing and how they are funded – something many other advocacy groups are not.

  9. Interesting article on the weight/mortality findings. What are your thoughts on this Seth?

    Seth: I think that as we get older, smell-calorie associations naturally get stronger (they are based on experience, which older people have more of). This raises the setpoint so average weight increases. Being far from the average in either direction generally indicates something is seriously wrong, which would also increase mortality. That’s the best I can do.

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