[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Return to main CEDA-L Archive Page
ans NEJM: shorter
the Tofler et al editorial has just about NO risk assesment or net
benefit comparisons. it is nearly entirely outrage and
self-righteousness without argument. CLAIMS are easy: these MDs needed
to take a critical thinking class at some point.
a) the "significant morbidity and mortality" from eating disorders is
the National Center for Health Statistics reports that 62 people died
from anorexia in 1992, the latest year that we have numbers for. TWICE
as many women die in AIRLINE CRASHES as from ANOREXIA.
the health risks to women from "female athlete triad" are almost ZERO.
now, you all heard that Naomi Wolf 1991 card that says "150,000 American
women die of anorexia each year." SHE LIED. made it up. Tofler et al
Ted Byfield explained in July of 1994:
"Gloria Steinem in her book Revolution from Within: "In this country
alone... about 150,000 females die of anorexia each year." Naomi Wolf in
The Beauty Myth, citing the same 150,000 anorexia toll, demands: "How
would America react to the mass self-immolation by hunger of its
favourite sons?" While she didn't like to compare it to the Holocaust,
"the vast number of emaciated bodies starved, not by nature, but by men"
does suggest "a certain resemblance." Ann Landers confidently cites the
statistic and Joan Brumberg, former director of women's studies at
Cornell, declares in another book: "These disorders are an inevitable
consequence of a misogynistic society that demeans women by objectifying
All these works were, of course, highly acclaimed by the media and
doubtless form part of the curriculum at countless "women's studies"
courses. Meanwhile, it appears not one reporter in the United States or
Canada questioned the 150,000 figure. Ms. Sommers did. After all, it
meant the anorexia toll was more than triple the total number of
Americans killed each year in traffic accidents. She found that Ms.
Steinem got it from Ms. Wolf, who got it from Ms. Brumberg, who thought
she'd got it from the American Anorexia and Bulimia Association. No,
said the association's president, an association newsletter in 1985 had
merely said that 150,000 to 200,000 American women suffer from anorexia.
They don't die from it. The newsletter had been "misquoted." The actual
death toll was 101 in 1983, and 67 in 1988--out of a population of one
hundred million adult females. Thus the seeming "Holocaust." But where
was the media? Answer: believing the press agents."
(There's one born every minute, and he's probably a `journalist.'., Vol.
21, Alberta Report, 07-04-1994, pp 44)
b) the "extent of eating disorders" research is ludicrous.
just in the literature cited by Tofler et al, from 1/2000 to 1/10 women
in the general population suffer from anorexia and bulimia, while from
1/10 to 2/3 women suffer "eating disorders".
similarly, the "15 to 62% of female athletes" who suffer "eating
disorders" depends ENTIRELY on the fluid definitions used in the
individual studies. for example, how would you answer this question:
"is your bodyweight very important to you?" on several surveys a "yes"
to this question would give you an "eating disorder" because it would
mean that you were "pre-occupied" or "obsessed" with weight and on at
least one it would mean that you have "pre-clinical or sub-clinical
anorexia". and VOILA, tens of thousands of female gymnasts are given
anorexia or made the victims of an "eating disorder" by a SURVEY.
of interest to Isaac may be the following HORRIFYING study reported in
the April 1994 Science News:
ITHACA, N.Y. - More than 40 percent of lightweight football
players engage in dysfunctional eating patterns, the highest rate
ever reported among male athletes, a new study shows. The
research suggests that male athletes, like female athletes, can
be at significant risk for eating disorders.
To identify those at high risk for dysfunctional eating and
eating disorders, the team of nutrition, psychology and sports
and medicine experts from Cornell University and Ithaca College
that conducted the study has developed a new test that takes less
than 1 minute to administer and can accurately predict risk so
that education and intervention efforts may be targeted to those
"Athletes, especially those in sports with weight
restrictions such as wrestling, crew and lightweight football, as
well as body builders, are at risk for an eating problem that
could jeopardize their health," Koszewski points out."
the problem is that a SURVEY QUESTION from an overzealous researcher can
give you an "eating disorder."
c) Tofler et al HIDE the NET BENEFIT of being very underweight.
since almost NO ONE dies or is seriously harmed by "female athlete
triad" it becomes horribly inconvenient for Tofler to COMPARE the
potential harm against the benefit of being very underweight. so they
only point towards the harms.
hell, if i get to do that, it is easy to prove that eating is bad. just
think, sometimes food tastes bad.
the mortality tables for ALL Americans for more than 50 years show
maximum lifespan for the EMACIATED. sorry, but them's the facts. being
NORMAL weight for your height will kill you (in comparison to being very
skinny). being OVERWEIGHT is an early exit from life.
so, elite female gymnasts are very skinny and thus delay menstruation
and that means they have thinner bones. that causes some problems: but
the health benefits from being skeletons FAR outweighs the harms.
the numerous and huge insurance company mortality tables are by far the
best evidence there is on these issues, but just in case, Eugenie Halsey
reported on CNN September 14, 1995:
"There's more reason than ever for women to keep extra pounds off,
thanks to a study that gives scientific support for staying lean. The
report found that women who weigh the least generally live the longest.
Previous studies had suggested that being too thin might increase the
risk of dying early. But when Dr. JoAnn Manson of Brigham and Women's
Hospital in Boston and her colleagues at Harvard excluded women who
smoked, they found just the opposite: that being even mildly overweight
increased the risk of premature sickness and death.
For example, their results showed that for a woman of average height, 5
feet 5 inches, a healthy person weighing less than 120 pounds had the
lowest risk of dying early, while one weighing 150 to 160 pounds had a
30 percent increased risk. And the risk was still greater, up 60
percent, for those weighing 161 to 175 pounds. Even putting on just 20
pounds in adulthood boosted a woman's chances of getting sick.
"Particularly if they gained more than 40 pounds, they had seven times
the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and about a 50 percent
higher risk of dying from cancer," Manson said.
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop said the study, reported in the
New England Journal of Medicine, should serve as "a major wake-up call"
for Americans. And the government is considering revising its height and
weight charts to endorse lower weights. Current guidelines say women
who are 5-foot-5 should weigh between 126 and 161 pounds, depending on
Some nutrition experts are worried that the study, which looked at death
rates among more than 1,000 women, will send the wrong message. "(Women)
may interpret this as saying, 'Oh, my goodness, I must be 15 percent
below the average American woman's weight in order to attain quality of
life and longevity.' And in a way, they may look at this as condemning
them," said Dr. Pamela Peeke, an obesity expert.
One of her patients, Jennifer Cohen, agrees. "I probably will never get
to my average weight for my average height," she said. Cohen has lost 50
pounds, however, through diet and exercise. And Peeke said that even
losses of as little as 10 pounds can improve a patient's health.
Meanwhile, another study in the New England Journal provides more
evidence that yo-yo dieting, condemned in previous studies, may not be
harmful after all. Researchers looked at death rates among
Japanese-American men and found that weight fluctuations in those who
were healthy did not increase their risk of dying from heart disease or
thanks for reading,
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (email@example.com)
Return to main CEDA-L Archive Page