nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Media Goes Nuts Over "Pear" Versus "Apple" Body Fat

Almost every news outlet today is breathlessly touting a study that just appeared showing that it doesn't make any difference whether your body is apple-shaped or pear-shaped in regard to risk of heart disease.

This flies in the face of years of studies that showed, if you're apple-shaped--body fat centering in the abdomen instead of the thighs--you're toast.  See here for a news article that's typical of the now-contested guidance.

Remember the Peter, Paul, and Mary song, A'Soaling?

Apple, a pear, a plum, a cherry
Any good thing to make us all merry.

So, they were wrong.  Fruits, at least in regard to their shape, don't make us merry.

Now I'm confused and it really puts a wrinkle in my efforts to transfer my my thighs.  I've been massaging downward for years (to little effect, I might add).

What does the actual study (The Lancet, Mar 11) say?  First of all, they controlled for a lot of other variables like age, sex, smoking status, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol.

For Onion peelers,
Serial adiposity assessments were made in up to 63,821 people (mean interval 5·7 years [SD 3·9])...Addition of information on BMI, waist circumference, or waist-to-hip ratio to a cardiovascular disease risk prediction model containing conventional risk factors did not importantly improve risk discrimination (C-index changes of −0·0001, −0·0001, and 0·0008, respectively), nor classification of participants to categories of predicted 10-year risk (net reclassification improvement −0·19%, −0·05%, and −0·05%, respectively).

That's a lot of measurements in a lot of people, and not one jot of difference.  But this won't settle the question; one study does not the truth make.

For now, though, I'm pushing "fat location" to the back of my risk-filled dinner to speak.

Doc D

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