[ExI] More obesity, longer life spans

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sun Aug 23 18:55:00 UTC 2009

On 8/23/09, Max More wrote:
> BillK responded to a previous post of mine, suggesting that the gains in
> U.S. longevity are likely to reverse, starting right now, in part because of
> the economic downturn but also due to increased obesity. On the latter
> point, here's an interesting piece and comments:
>  Something is wrong with the model
> http://luysii.wordpress.com/2009/08/20/something-is-wrong-with-the-model/
>  More comments here:
> http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/08/something_is_wrong_with_the_mo.php

Lots of interesting comments there.

I think he's misunderstood the model.

The causes of death are multi-factorial.
Being obese is just one factor. You don't have to be obese to die.
Many skinny people die from other causes.

Where studies have been done on populations, trying to exclude all
other factors except obesity, the conclusion is that being obese
shortens your life.

If obesity is increasing then life expectancy should be reducing, but
other factors like reduced infant deaths, drugs to control vascular
disease, anti-smoking campaigns, seat belts, etc, etc. will be
improving life expectancy and overwhelm the obesity effect.

The reason I expect a drop in US life expectancy in the next few years
is the loss of health insurance cover due to unemployment and an
increase in the number of people who cannot afford the drugs they


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