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Choke On That Cinnabon

Unfogged The only important question that remains in the case of David Brooks is whether he could be any dumber. Outdoing himself doesn't count. Th

Unfogged

The only important question that remains in the case of David Brooks is whether he could be any dumber. Outdoing himself doesn't count.

The new study on weight and longevity is pretty interesting. This NY Times graphic is the quickest way to understand it: very thin people don't live as long as people of "normal" weight, and slightly overweight people live longer, on average, than both groups. Brooks writes,

Nature has built a little Laffer curve into the fabric of reality: health-conscious people can hit a point of negative returns, so the more fit they are, the quicker they kick the bucket. People who work out, eat responsibly and deserve to live are more likely to be culled by the Thin Reaper.

Nope. You start getting negative returns at a BMI of 18.4. The BMI itself is mostly crap, because it doesn't distinguish between muscle and fat; so Terrell Owens, for example, is overweight, bordering on obese. (Which makes another Brooks sentence, "[Mother Nature] doesn't like those body-worshiping, multi-abbed marvels who've spent so much time at the bench press machine they look as if they have thighs growing out of either side of their necks" extra special dumb, because most of those people are in the category he wants to celebrate.) But, at the extremes, the BMI is a pretty good guide. I am, as we've noted before, 6 feet tall and weigh 150 pounds. To a lot of folks, that's alarmingly skinny. But I would have to any dumber. Outdoing himself doesn't count.

The new study on weight and longevity is pretty interesting. This NY Times graphic is the quickest way to understand it: very thin people don't live as long as people of "normal" weight, and slightly overweight people live longer, on average, than both groups. Brooks writes,

Nature has built a little Laffer curve into the fabric of reality: health-conscious people can hit a point of negative returns, so the more fit they are, the quicker they kick the bucket. People who work out, eat responsibly and deserve to live are more likely to be culled by the Thin Reaper.


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Nope. You start getting negative returns at a BMI of 18.4. The BMI itself is mostly crap, because it doesn't distinguish between muscle and fat; so Terrell Owens, for example, is overweight, bordering on obese. (Which makes another Brooks sentence, "[Mother Nature] doesn't like those body-worshiping, multi-abbed marvels who've spent so much time at the bench press machine they look as if they have thighs growing out of either side of their necks" extra special dumb, because most of those people are in the category he wants to celebrate.) But, at the extremes, the BMI is a pretty good guide. I am, as we've noted before, 6 feet tall and weigh 150 pounds. To a lot of folks, that's alarmingly skinny. But I would have tolose 14 pounds to get into undesirably low BMI territory. Is it really news to anyone that 6 feet, 135 pounds is unhealthy?

And Brooks doesn't even try to deal with a complicating factor: living longer doesn't necessarily mean feeling better, and it's likely that overweight people are living longer because their diabetes and high-blood pressure are being managed by medication. But if you have, or know someone who has, diabetes or high blood pressure, you know that those ailments are no fun, and the medication used to treat them isn't either.

Finally, and this is what bugged me enough to get me to post:

Darwin was wrong when he talked about the survival of the fittest: it's really the survival of the healthy enough to get by.

Is this a joke? Does he really think Darwin was talking about "fitness" in terms of gym-going? Let's assume that this study is correct and that, furthermore, the longer-lived heavy people are more successful in passing on their genes; in that case, they are the fittest David, you stupid little paunchy man.

And can I get a show of hands of those who think that the words "Darwin was wrong" show up in his column by, like, accident?
lose 14 pounds to get into undesirably low BMI territory. Is it really news to anyone that 6 feet, 135 pounds is unhealthy?
And Brooks doesn't even try to deal with a complicating factor: living longer doesn't necessarily mean feeling better, and it's likely that overweight people are living longer because their diabetes and high-blood pressure are being managed by medication. But if you have, or know someone who has, diabetes or high blood pressure, you know that those ailments are no fun, and the medication used to treat them isn't either.

Finally, and this is what bugged me enough to get me to post:

Darwin was wrong when he talked about the survival of the fittest: it's really the survival of the healthy enough to get by.

Is this a joke? Does he really think Darwin was talking about "fitness" in terms of gym-going? Let's assume that this study is correct and that, furthermore, the longer-lived heavy people are more successful in passing on their genes; in that case, they are the fittest David, you stupid little paunchy man.

And can I get a show of hands of those who think that the words "Darwin was wrong" show up in his column by, like, accident?

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