I read this report today about research that showed that (surprise, surprise!!) doing more exercise, as measured by pedometers and fitbits, cuts the mortality rate. That is all good news. Then I read this statement in the article:
“Inactivity is a major public health problem, with conditions like obesity costing the economy tens of billions of dollars every year,” Professor Dwyer said.”
Again inactivity is being equated with obesity and obesity is identified as the thing that is costing the economy. This kind of statement makes my blood boil. When you read the actual study here you will see that it used data from the “The Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle (AUSDIAB) study”. Analysis of the data over a 10 year period found that “The daily steps-mortality pattern did not differ substantially by age, sex, smoking status, obesity or a range of comorbidities“.
Here again is a summary of the main findings:
“The major finding from this pooled adult cohort study, comprising over 2 500 free-living participants followed-up over a decade, was that daily step count measured at baseline was inversely associated with all-cause mortality. Further, a temporal increase in annual daily steps was independently associated with lower mortality. These findings are the first concerning the association between objectively measured levels of PA and all-cause mortality in a free-living population. The association was independent of factors such as BMI or smoking. The observed effects were similar in magnitude of mortality benefit observed for statins in randomised trials …This report is the first to quantify the mortality reductions associated with objectively measured daily step activity in a free living population, and strongly underscore the importance of physical inactivity as a major public health problem.” (my highlights)
So where does it say here that obesity is the major public health problem? The answer is that it doesn’t. However the reporting of this study echoed the same old message that fat people die early and fat people are a cost to the economy. When will reporters actually start reading the research properly and not starting with a bias against fat people and filtering the article through that bias??