Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Fat Geeks Healthier Than You Thought 454

DoubleWhopper writes "Sound the trumpets! Being a fat geek may not increase your risk of death after all. According to this ABC News article, a re-examination of the available data suggests obesity is still a health risk, but the 'pleasantly plump' among us 'do not have the same health risks as obese individuals.' But, from the article: 'People shouldn't think that this study gives them a free trip to the pork rind buffet.' Believe what you want, but you'd better hope I don't get to the Twinkies aisle before you."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Fat Geeks Healthier Than You Thought

Comments Filter:
  • Cool (Score:5, Funny)

    by tsotha ( 720379 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @12:54AM (#12326996)
    Great. Now I can live a long, sexless life!
    • Re:Cool (Score:2, Funny)

      by merpal ( 873013 )
      Now you have more time to finally get that gym membership you've been considering.
    • Rent "The Dao of Steve." Then you'll see not all hope is lost for fat geeks.
    • Re:Cool (Score:5, Funny)

      by kurosawdust ( 654754 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @01:09AM (#12327073)
      Yeah, but if you're dedicated enough to the cause, you can get yourself some nice boobs as a sort of consolation prize! :)
      • Re:Cool (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 24, 2005 @01:37AM (#12327166)
        That is a serious condition called gynecomastia.

        If you have it, get to a doctor ASAP! You likely have severe endocrine problems. Make sure they find and treat those problems (likely high estrogen and low testosterone) and not just say "you're fat".

        Endocrine problems can lead to diabetes (itself an endocrine problem), depression (sometimes to the point of suicide or commitment to an insane asylum), forgetfulness (sometimes permanent), anxiety (to the point of phobias), loss of concentration (to the point you are ineffective at work), rage (to the point of danger), high blood pressure (to the point of severe headaches, and possible heart attack and stroke), and osteoporosis (to the point of fractures and stooped posture - yes, this can and does occur in men too). Hot flashes can also occur.

        I forgot to mention - NO SEX DRIVE!

        Keeping this anonymous because I suffered from endocrine problems (only minor boobs). Luckily my endo put me on some meds which control most of the endocrine problems. Still some boobs, but hopefully those'll go away.
    • Re:Cool (Score:5, Informative)

      by austad ( 22163 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @03:19AM (#12327509) Homepage
      I feel like a lazy bum sitting in front of a computer all day, and it actually motivates me go to the gym. I know several other geeks that feel the same way, two of them are professional bodybuilders.

      One thing sitting in front of the computer all day does is give you plenty of time to do research on the web on proper nutrition and workout techniques also. This means that if you do things properly, you can go to the gym less than most people, and get better results.

      Nutrition is about 80% of it. If you want a nice quick recipe without doing much research, check out this. [] This will give you a good base to start from and modify to your particular situation. Yeah, it costs money for a downloadable PDF, but, if you're too lazy to do the research, it's worth it. I bought this awhile ago to see what it was about, and it's basically the same thing I came up with 4 years ago or so. I went from about 150 to 195 with 9% bodyfat using this over the first 2 years. To keep in proper Slashdot tradition of likening everything to computers, it's like hacking your body. :)

      I think the hardest part is making it a routine thing. Force yourself to do it for 3 weeks, and it will become a habit. You'll feel lazy if you don't go. And the part about eating 6 smaller meals a day, it works wonders. You'll not only keep fat off, but if you found yourself tired in the afternoon, you won't be anymore.

      If you really wanna do some research, there's a book called Supertraining by Mel Siff. I think it's out of print now, but last I checked Amazon still had some. It's expensive, but there's a wealth of information there. It gives you the basis behind everything, not canned workout schedules or nutrition, you'll have to come up with that yourself.

      For those of you that run companies, or are in charge of offices, get some funds to have an office weight/workout room. Your employees will have more energy and be less likely to stare at the wall all afternoon. Plus, some will stay and work late after they have finished their workout if they workout after work hours. Company subsidized gym memberships are nice, but if the gym isn't around the corner or convenient to go to, people are less likely to go.

      A word on supplements... ion-exchanged whey protein isolate is the best you will find. It absorbs the fastest, and less goes to waste. Isopure seems to be the only brand out there that is 100% isolate. Don't waste your money on cheap protein. Creatine also seems to work for some people, although some find that it irritates their stomach. As far as other supplements go, pretty much all of it is garbage. The only other supplement that worked was androstedione, and as of a couple of months ago, it's illegal. I took it for about 2 weeks, but it made me wanna rough people up, so I stopped. DPS [] is the cheapest place I've found for supplements. Buy yourself some Isopure and some Rage or Tri-o-plex bars for a snack. If you're trying to build muscle, you'll need extra protein so you're not wasting your time in the gym.

      Make sure you stretch properly, or you'll injure yourself or cause scar tissue to form. I can't emphasize enough how important stretching is. Also, make sure you do exercises with proper form. I injured my neck because someone showed me how to do shoulder presses with dumbells incorrectly. Most personal trainers at gyms I've been to don't even have any sort of personal trainer certification. It is definitely worth your money to find one that actually has some sort of credentials, at least initially. You don't want to learn to do things incorrectly and hurt yourself like I did. If you injure discs in your neck or back, they will never heal completely, I'll probably need surgery someday.
  • Holy Fuck! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 24, 2005 @12:54AM (#12326998)
    Your market has a Twinkie AISLE!?
  • by GreyWolf3000 ( 468618 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @12:55AM (#12327009) Journal
    Reduce your risk of death? Let's leave religion out of this one, shall we?
  • The (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 24, 2005 @12:55AM (#12327012)
    First Rule Of Fat Club Is You Don't Talk About Fat Club.
  • Troublesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Staplerh ( 806722 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @12:57AM (#12327020) Homepage
    According to this ABC News article, a re-examination of the available data suggests obesity is still a health risk, but the 'pleasantly plump' among us 'do not have the same health risks as obese individuals.'

    First off, there seems to be some number-shuffling here. This is a very politicized and personal topic for a lot of people, and different motivations are behind the different studies. This particular study has been trumpeted by the main-stream media (it's been out for a few days now) because it is different and will attract reader's interest. The scientists that told us that having a BMI over 25 will most likely still stick to their guns and say that we should be healthy. The danger of this study is the attitude that we even saw in the original post:

    But, from the article: 'People shouldn't think that this study gives them a free trip to the pork rind buffet.' Believe what you want, but you'd better hope I don't get to the Twinkies aisle before you.

    Come now, you may not be at as high a risk as previous studies had indicated - and may be even better off than an unhealthy skinflint, but there is no rational way that binging on the Twinkies aisle will benefit your health whatsoever. I know it was flippant and humorous, but it's still a dangerous idea to think that you can eat Joe Lois, maintain a BMI of 29 and be healthy. Indeed, it's not the BMI - it's the food you eat, the nutrition, etc.
    • Bingo. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Sunday April 24, 2005 @01:17AM (#12327107)
      This is just a very crappy article.
      I know it was flippant and humorous, but it's still a dangerous idea to think that you can eat Joe Lois, maintain a BMI of 29 and be healthy. Indeed, it's not the BMI - it's the food you eat, the nutrition, etc.
      Damn straight! It isn't about weight. It's about exercise and nutrition.

      Show me the death stats for people based upon exercise and nutrition INSTEAD of focusing on the weight of their corpse.

      I'm betting that doing it that way would show a more understandable progression (ie. the healthier you keep yourself, the longer you will live).

      But that kind of research won't get the headlines.

      And the average person who reads that will only remember and believe what he wants to ("being fat means I'll live longer").

    • The BMI is really a terrible public education attempt. It's formula has _only_two_variables_, with the rest simplified and trivialized into some dimensionless coefficient. It doesn't factor in gender, age, and basic body build, for example.

      Whoever came up with the BMI gets Score: -1, Retarded Oversimplification.
  • by crottsma ( 859162 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @12:57AM (#12327022)
    Great! Now they just need to account for prolonged monitor radiation and celibacy.
  • Studies (Score:2, Interesting)

    These studies just give people a reason to keep eating badly.

    But, from the article: 'People shouldn't think that this study gives them a free trip to the pork rind buffet.'

    Yeah, because people really listen to stuff that they don't want to hear.

    "The best predictor of obesity is being overweight," said Charles Clark, professor of medicine and pharmacology at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. "The younger you are when you become overweight the more likely that you will become obese
  • by Hao Wu ( 652581 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @12:58AM (#12327028) Homepage
    EVERYONE thought the fat one would check-out first...


  • by DwarfGoanna ( 447841 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @01:02AM (#12327047)
    Physical death, maybe not (though I'm skeptical... this smells like social backlash, again).

    However, fat geeks will always have another thing to consider. Darwinian death. Eat those twinkies, my pretties... just means more pussy for me!


  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 24, 2005 @01:02AM (#12327050)
    DoubleWhopper writes...

  • I dont know... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cloudkj ( 685320 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @01:03AM (#12327051)

    These studies and numbers change all the time. Now they're telling us it's not as bad as we thought. Tomorrow it'll be death faster than the Grim Reaper.

    My take on it is just to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Why not spend less time on these studies about obesity, and more on promoting healthy eating and exercise? Even geeks can do it. Take several small breaks during the day. Do some stretches. Go for a walk. Sit and look at green things in the distance. Go frolic in the grass. It makes you much less stress-prone, more productive, and healthy.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Last time I frolicked out in public I got arrested, maybe I'm doing it wrong.
    • Re:I dont know... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SunFan ( 845761 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @02:11AM (#12327282)

      It turns out vegetable shortening is bad for us, but eggs and meat are not. (trans fat and cholesterol ratios)

      It turns out Scotch is bad for us, but Vodka is not. (urethanes)

      Just recently, they're starting to question the safety of Triclosan, a very common ingrediant in soap and toothpaste (chloroform inhalation)

      Recently, people are starting to recognize that not all carbohydrates are created equally (e.g. the glycemic index).

      The only conclusion is that science is really a long way from catching upto reality. It would be interesting to see how much of the current heart disease "epidemic" was caused by the refined-food revolution of the 20th century (sliced white bread, shortening, etc.).
    • Re:I dont know... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Quantum Jim ( 610382 ) <> on Sunday April 24, 2005 @02:20AM (#12327314) Homepage Journal

      My take on it is just to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Why not spend less time on these studies about obesity, and more on promoting healthy eating and exercise?

      I can't stress how much truth there is in this statement. I was starting to get really fat, and my grades, productivity, and personal opinion dropped like crazy. Since then, I started eating healthy, lifting weights, and running as often as I can (ideally daily). In about a month I lost five pounds! :-)

      I took a scientific approach. I attempted to running (~2.5-3mi) as often as I could - forcing myself to do the exercises rather than do something else (e.g. gotta do this homework assignment or research paper). Furthermore, I made sure my heart rate was within my target range so as not to tire myself out. I also lifted weights and joined the wrestling club. (Even though I wrestled in high school, I was horribly out of practice and shape by now.)

      Each time I ran I would record estimates of my time, distance, calories burned, and average heart rate. However, I made it a point not to measure my weight since that depressed me in the past. The numbers recorded would probably not be accurate or precise; however, the trend would be after enough data was collected. (For the geeky, the error of an average of measurements is proportional to the rms of each individual measurement's error.)

      With the exception of a small breakfast, I never ate until after running. I also attempted to balance my energy burned from running with the calories consumed during lunch after the exercise (I went to Subway). With the addition of wrestling (two times/week) and weight lifting (three times/week), I lost lots of weight without thinking about it. Furthermore, I believe that I didn't lose muscle mass since I kept lifting weights (at 80% max).

      More importantly, my self confidence rose and I found I was ten times more productive than before. I programmed much more in the last month than the previous quarter year. My grades improved as well. I can hardly believe how good this exercise makes me feel too. It is so much better than alcohol (which really doesn't do much to me), food, or wasting time playing computer games to releave stress. It is great!

      • Re:I dont know... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by CausticPuppy ( 82139 )
        I can hardly believe how good this exercise makes me feel too. It is so much better than alcohol (which really doesn't do much to me), food, or wasting time playing computer games to releave stress. It is great!

        What he said.
        I never really started getting in shape until a couple years ago (age 29). I was out of shape in a scrawny way rather than a fat way though.

        The reason people give up on exercise and hate doing it is that for the first week or two, it SUCKS-- if you haven't been in the habit of exerci
  • i know why (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Fat Geeks get no lovin' from the opposite sex, and women are a surefire way to go to an early grave!

    Take my wife... please.

  • Sure, this is great news for a good portion of the American population, a country with a ridiculously high rate of obesity and overweight individuals. However, one has to question its objectivity and scientific basis. As one poster already pointed out, the story merely suggests that somewhat fat people are more "healthy" than obese people. I for one am not the skinniest geek, but I don't really think this is the right kind of motivation for me to read in wanting to shed a few 'extra' pounds. :)

    I maintain a reasonbly healthy diet, try to balance my nutrition and exercize when I can.. but in this fast-paced go-go-go environment of urban America it's very difficult to stay ahead physically, financially and maintain one's sanity. While I don't doubt that I'm relatively healthy, I also think that I could be more healthy.

    We geeks tend to sit down for the majority of the day and feel our asses grow as we're emmersed in various technological endeavors. This is all fine and dandy, but as my doctor pointed out recently, it's best to shed those extra pounds while we're still young as the older we get the harder it gets to rid ourselves of them as our metabolic rate slows down. So I would suggest to my fellow geeks to do what you can when you can and take articles such as these with no more than a grain of salt. In two weeks there may be another study that says otherwise. Besides, who can believe any story about how much food we should eat that's posted on a site whose founder is some random taco!
  • by ChipMonk ( 711367 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @01:07AM (#12327067) Journal
    Being a fat geek may not increase your risk of death after all.

    Last I knew, the human race had a 100% mortality rate. Being "pleasantly plump" might exempt some of us from death?
  • I'm a.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by NIK282000 ( 737852 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @01:11AM (#12327080) Homepage Journal
    I'm a skinny geek you insensitive clod!
  • DNA (Score:5, Funny)

    by floorten ( 44802 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @01:11AM (#12327085) Homepage
    Douglas Adams died exercising in the gym. I think that says something important to us all ... ;-)
    • Re:DNA (Score:5, Funny)

      by tsotha ( 720379 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @01:38AM (#12327170)
      That's the reason you won't catch me in a hospital. People die in there...
    • This is modded Insightful?? Funny would fit better, but apparently some people agree with the sentiment!

      You'd have to be a hell of an idiot to avoid the gym because of the miniscule amount of people who happen to die in them each year.

      I'd put money down that more people die sitting on the toilet than working out.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 24, 2005 @01:15AM (#12327098)
    My thought is it relates more to lifestyle and fitness level than anything. For example, my mother is overweight and has been all her life. Yet she is the most active person I know. She has tremendous energy and gets an incredible amount done every day. So yes, she is quite overweight, but she's very fit.

    Same goes for her father, who was a big heavy Wisconsin farmer. He used to laugh about doctors telling him to lose weight for better health and a longer life. My grandfather just shrugged and said "I've buried all my skinny friends." He was overweight all his life too, but being a farmer he was very fit.

    Of course these are individual cases and anecdotal evidence is pretty worthless. I just want to say that being overweight and being out of shapeare two different things. Some fat people are in better shape and more fit than some skinny people. Not all, obviously. It must come down to genetics to some degree, but also how fit they are and how much exercise they get.

    This research probably doesn't mean you can stock up on twinkies and mountain dew. It just means you can be fit and healthy even if you are fat. But being fat certainly doesn't mean you're healthy!
  • I think it depends (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SunFan ( 845761 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @01:16AM (#12327101)

    There are different ways of being overweight. You know those guys with the hard round gut? That's bad. You know those soft flabby guys (but not too flabby), well that's not quite as bad (IIRC).

    What really bothers me is I'm starting to see teenagers who have the physique of a 45 year old man with the stereotypical beer gut. That's not just bad, it's really really sad. Their parents should know better.

  • Healthy Diet (Score:5, Informative)

    by bleckywelcky ( 518520 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @01:22AM (#12327121)
    It doesn't really matter if you're skinny, plump, or fat until you actually reach the "obese" limit. But even if you aren't obese, that doesn't mean you're living healthy. Everyone remembers that kid who ate nothing but fries, ho-hos, and mountain dew but still weighed 140 pounds at 6' tall all through high school and college (perhaps some of you were that kid). The damage done to that body is way beyong someone who eats fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole foods but weighs in at 220 pounds and 6' tall. Just watch your diet and do some exercise during the week. If your metabolism is a little slow and you hold onto a little more weight, it's fine.
    • This is the first insightful post.

      This type of weight-watching mentality is what makes people think that being on the Atkins diet for the rest of their life is a great idea, simply because they lost some weight from it.

      At the moment, there is no way around a normal, well-balance diet if you want to be healthy.

  • Oh noes. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Creepy Crawler ( 680178 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @01:25AM (#12327132)
    Salt very unhealthy!
    (Let alone salt-NaCl- is used in neural ransmission and digestion)
    Salt's now found healthy.

    Butter found to be Unhealthy!
    (Yet margarine is found to be more unhealthy due to trans-fats)
    Butter is now not as bad as people think.

    Eggs cause Cancer (or evil of the day)!
    (Yet, eggs have many nutients found healthy to digest, along with good studies)
    Eggs arent as bad as everybody thught.

    Sugar causes hyperactivity!
    (Yet, high glucoce levels promote higher insulin and other somnabulic factors, found to put you to sleep)
    Sugar doesnt cause hyperactivity.

    Of course, add this to the "X causes Cancer of the Week" and you might as well dismiss these types of (cough)scientists. Hell, for years now, thes etypes of people go after coffee and try to find some sort of demon in it.

    The only bad people I see are those reallllly big people at the all-you-can-eat buffets. The best solution for that is have a regulatory door size ;P If you cant fit through the door frame, you dont eat there. Yeah, obscene fat and skinny are both dangerous and I believe, unhealthy. Im in the middle, and I cosider it safe.
  • by pg133 ( 307365 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @01:29AM (#12327144)
    Overweight people may live longer []
    But experts pointed out that the study only looked at how long people lived and not at obesity-related diseases.
  • by Sairret ( 786685 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @01:44AM (#12327195)
    They have pork rind buffets? Like... an entire buffet of pork rinds?

    Why wasn't I notified?
  • by melted ( 227442 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @01:45AM (#12327200) Homepage
    If I want a big steak, I'm gonna have a big steak. And mashed potatoes. And gravy. And I'm gonna wash it down with some good wine, and maybe even Vodka if I'm in the mood. If I die when I'm 60, so fuckin' be it. At least I will die knowing what a good steak tastes like.

    I don't want to live till I'm 100 years old, because I know with social security system the government is putting in place I'll have to live under the fucking bridge if I live too long. And I don't want my kids to spend their hard earned cash on keeping me alive or paying for the nursing home. If I'm ever not able to take care of myself, give me the god damn shotgun and go somewhere for five minutes.
  • Quality of Life (Score:3, Informative)

    by __aahrlq8808 ( 804799 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @01:46AM (#12327201)
    Diet and nutrition experts believe that focusing on mortality data obscures the true risk of being overweight, which is the toll it can take on a person's quality of life.

    Considering that the leading causes of death [] such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes still have such intimate relationships with weight, I would still rather be thin than chronically sick.

    Study after study has been confirming the links these diseases have with being overweight. When you consider quality of life arguments against controlling weight (i.e. - denying yourself those delicious delicacies), also consider the huge benefits in reduced medical expenses and better overall well-being you will enjoy.

  • I think its all about metabolism. I do all of the cooking for my household, because my wife can burn Kool-Aid. I cook with olive oil, real butter, pork fat, duck fat, etc.

    I eat whatever I want to and I'm still a relatively thin guy who is staring 35 in the face. I find this surprising considering that I sit in front of computers all day for a living.

    I suppose it all comes down to genetics and metabolism. Of course, I could die tomorrow of a heart attack. Inject that mayonnaise directly into my arteries, p
  • Heh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @03:22AM (#12327520)
    What a load of rubbish, but I expect no less from ABC:

    1) Health risk is proportional to obesity
    2) Less obese people have less of a health risk than very obese people (which follows from 1)
    3) Less obese people have (virtually) no health risk???

    Can anyone say "non sequitur"?

    The vast majority of the population in the western hemisphere is overweight, including myself. We should not try to justify our poor health habits, however, by pretending that they don't exist.

    You can be whatever weight you want - after all, who really gives a damn apart from you? But kidding yourself into thinking that there will be no consequences attached to this choice will bite you in the ass in the long run.
  • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @08:32AM (#12328258) Journal
    It's about lifestyle too.

    Pizza and Coke is common components, along with not being very physically active... That's stuff that can be really unhealthy, for the cholesterol levels etc.

    Often, obesity is a consequence of these things too, so I don't really get why they're saying it's not an unhealthy sign.
  • by 3seas ( 184403 ) on Sunday April 24, 2005 @08:35AM (#12328267) Homepage Journal
    A cheap sweetner used in many food products and mostly associated with the non-food product of softdrinks or sugar water.

    Research has shown that HFCS can contribute as much as 1/3 to high triglicerides (FAT) in your blood and body.

    Having never weighed above 140 in my pre 40 years, I was supprised to be scaling out at 200 a couple years ago. Both my Family doctor and Chiropractor wanted me to lower my triglicerides, lose weight. Otherwise my family doctor was going to put me on meds for that besides colesterol.

    I heard about the report, took HFCS out of my diet, dropped 30 Lbs and have pretty much kept it off with any effort. Just the decision to not eat food with HFCS in them.

    Good food actually taste alot better.

    So it really depends on what you are eating to be a bit overweight, as to how healthy you are...

    Hmmm, don't geeks generally eat the wrong foods?

"The following is not for the weak of heart or Fundamentalists." -- Dave Barry