The Obesity Paradox: When Thinner Means Sicker and Heavier Means Healthier

The Obesity Paradox: When Thinner Means Sicker and Heavier Means Healthier

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by Carl J. Lavie
     
 

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Most of us think that longevity hinges on maintaining a normal Body Mass Index. But research conducted over the last decade hit the media in January with explosive news: Overweight and even moderately obese people with certain chronic diseases—from heart disease to cancer— often live longer and fare better than normalweight individuals with the same

Overview

Most of us think that longevity hinges on maintaining a normal Body Mass Index. But research conducted over the last decade hit the media in January with explosive news: Overweight and even moderately obese people with certain chronic diseases—from heart disease to cancer— often live longer and fare better than normalweight individuals with the same ailments.

In this groundbreaking book, Carl Lavie, MD, reveals the science behind the obesity paradox and shows us how to achieve maximum health rather than minimum weight. Lavie not only explains how extra fat provides additional fuel to help fight illness, he also argues that we’ve gotten so used to framing health issues in terms of obesity that we overlook other potential causes of disease. Picking up where the bestseller Fat Chance left off, The Obesity Paradox will change the conversation about fat—and what it means to be healthy.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/03/2014
“Fat isn’t always bad. And exercise isn’t always good,” cardiologist Lavie writes in his introduction to this thoughtful examination of what society deems a healthy weight. That pat statement is the crux of the “obesity paradox”: overweight and even moderately obese patients often live longer and fare better than their thinner counterparts when it comes to chronic diseases, cancers, and even HIV. Lavie and Loberg examine this conundrum from multiple angles, looking at where fat cells are stored, metabolic health and muscle mass, and exercise levels. By no means are the authors about to proclaim obesity a healthy option; they are quick to acknowledge that it can be tough to determine which came first, the diabetes, or the obesity or heart disease, for example. Still, studies show that patients who focus on overall fitness rather than weight loss are healthier in the long run. Readers hoping for a free ticket to all-you-can-eat ice cream or permission to tear up their gym card will be disappointed, but those who’ve focused on numbers—whether body mass or weight—will likely find solace and sound advice here. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
“Everyone who struggles with weight should read this important book. Dr. Lavie presents the science to support the truth that being overweight and even moderately obese may correlate with better long-term health and greater longevity—if you stay fit by making good food choices and maintain sensible physical activity.  The Obesity Paradox is a story that has not been told in such a clear, evidence-based way.  It challenges conventional wisdom and is exciting to read.”—Andrew Weil, MD, author of 8 Weeks to Optimum Health and Spontaneous Happiness
 
“Dr. Lavie brings clarity to compelling cutting-edge science, fully validating the desperately important role of modifiable lifestyle choices in rewriting your health destiny. The Obesity Paradox offers up yet another challenge to some of our most long-held but unfounded beliefs in the health arena, especially when it comes to body fat. And he reinforces an often overlooked ingredient to living a good long life despite weight: the value of fitness. The Obesity Paradox is a must read.”—David Perlmutter, MD, author of Grain Brain
 
"In a society preoccupied with thinness, objectivity about how our weight relates to our health is often lost, and subtleties overlooked.  In The Obesity Paradox, Dr. Carl Lavie masterfully explores the relationship between body weight and health, giving us a balanced and uniquely illuminating perspective.  If you want the whole truth and real understanding, lay down your preconceptions, and pick up The Obesity Paradox."—David Katz, MD, author of Disease-Proof

The Obesity Paradox is an important contribution to our understanding of one of the most interesting and unusual observations in medicine today.  This book is highly recommended reading. ”—Joe Alpert, MD, Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Medicine

Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-13
New insights into the pros and cons of body fat. Although no one can stop aging, numerous diets and exercise programs insist they can aid you in obtaining a perfect, thin body. In this easy-to-understand, well-researched analysis of body fat and the functions it plays in humans, cardiologist Lavie, with the assistance of Loberg (co-author: Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar—Your Brain's Silent Killers, 2013, etc.), opens the door to a new understanding of optimum weight and health. After examining the dangers of excess body fat—e.g., an increased strain on the heart, leading to high blood pressure, possible strokes and high cholesterol—Lavie lays out the positives of having a few extra pounds. Numerous scientific studies show that being metabolically fit despite extra weight is actually healthier, leading to a longer life span than a thinner person who looks healthy but may have hidden health risks. Unlike overweight people, who have ample reserves in their fat cells, there's no cushion for a thin person to fall back on when illness strikes or when an accident occurs. The key is to balance body fat with moderate physical fitness. "Maintaining fitness is good and maintaining a healthy metabolism is good, and if you had to choose between fitness and thinness, it looks like it's much more important to maintain your fitness than your svelte waistline," writes the author. "Fitness appears to be a lot more protective than a low weight." After presenting the data, Lavie summarizes his explorations in ten principles that help readers absorb the notion that a few more pounds on the hips and thighs—good news for women—is actually beneficial and can lead to a longer life. Comprehensible, practical advice that shuns yo-yo dieting and exhaustive exercise regimens for a more lenient lifestyle in which having some body fat is actually good for you.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594632440
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/03/2014
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
1,281,522
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Praise for The Obesity Paradox:

“Everyone who struggles with weight should read this important book. Dr. Lavie presents the science to support the truth that being overweight and even moderately obese may correlate with better long-term health and greater longevity—if you stay fit by making good food choices and maintain sensible physical activity.  The Obesity Paradox is a story that has not been told in such a clear, evidence-based way.  It challenges conventional wisdom and is exciting to read.”—Andrew Weil, MD, author of 8 Weeks to Optimum Health and Spontaneous Happiness
 
“Dr. Lavie brings clarity to compelling cutting-edge science, fully validating the desperately important role of modifiable lifestyle choices in rewriting your health destiny. The Obesity Paradox offers up yet another challenge to some of our most long-held but unfounded beliefs in the health arena, especially when it comes to body fat. And he reinforces an often overlooked ingredient to living a good long life despite weight: the value of fitness. The Obesity Paradox is a must read.”—David Perlmutter, MD, author of Grain Brain
 
"In a society preoccupied with thinness, objectivity about how our weight relates to our health is often lost, and subtleties overlooked.  In The Obesity Paradox, Dr. Carl Lavie masterfully explores the relationship between body weight and health, giving us a balanced and uniquely illuminating perspective.  If you want the whole truth and real understanding, lay down your preconceptions, and pick up The Obesity Paradox."—David Katz, MD, author of Disease-Proof

The Obesity Paradox is an important contribution to our understanding of one of the most interesting and unusual observations in medicine today.  This book is highly recommended reading. ”—Joe Alpert, MD, Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Medicine

Meet the Author

Carl “Chip” Lavie, MD, is a board-certified cardiologist at the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans, a pioneer in ‘obesity paradox’ heart research, and the author or co-author of more than 800 journal articles and two medical textbooks. Dr. Lavie is editor-in-chief of Progress in Cardiovascular Disease, Associate Editor of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, and is on the editorial boards of many major journals. He’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, AARP, Runner’s World, and many other media outlets. He lives in Metairie, LA. 

Kristin Loberg is a professional writer with multiple New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers to her credit, including Dr. David Perlmutter’s Grain Brain, Dr. David B. Agus's The End of Illness, and Brenda Watson's The Fiber35 Diet. A graduate of Cornell University, she lives in Los Angeles, CA.

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The Obesity Paradox: When Thinner Means Sicker and Heavier Means Healthier 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
About a year ago, I found a book called The Hungry Chick Dieting Solution. My family thought i was just another diet book, until they started seeing the weight that I lost. It has been a year and I am still at my goal weight. I learned that I didn't have to be skinny to be healthy Then, last week, I found this book The Obesity Paradox and it validated everything that I was feeling and have been doing. My suggestion, read the Obesity Paradox to understand the why is being healthy is more important than being skinny. Then, buy The Hungry Chick Dieting Solution to find out how to do it. Oh and if you are wondering how much weight did I lose, it was 23 pounds. I have never felt better.