On Hold with Atchka! and Dr. Katherine Flegal
I cite Dr. Katherine Flegal a lot.
Dr. Flegal is the woman who thoroughly debunked the “obesity/overweight cause 400,000 deaths per year” and said, “Nope, it’s more like 26,000.”
Dr. Flegal’s work is the cornerstone on which I built my understanding of these issues. It was only by seeing on paper that the CDC had grossly overrepresented the mortality risk of overweight and obesity that I realized that there might be something to this whole Fat Acceptance thing.
So, as I began to acquire interviews, my Golden Snitch was to speak with Dr. Flegal. When I finally landed the interview, I was so exuberant as to border on manic the day of the interview. She talked me down from my paranoid theories on why the CDC would produce such a grotesquely inaccurate estimate, and the conversation goes into some very interesting areas.
One which stuck with me is when she explained how BMI and waist circumference (WC) produce identical results, contrary to popular belief. WC has been proposed as the “new BMI” and a better indicator of a person’s metabolic health.
Flegal said it isn’t. And it wasn’t until much later that I read where Dr. Gerald Reaven, who reintroduced the concept of metabolic disorder in 1988, also confirmed that BMI and WC are identical in terms of risk factors. I wrote about Reaven’s change of heart on metabolic disorder here.
Since my interview with Flegal, her team has released yet another NHANES report that confirms the stability of obesity rates through 2010.
And as if I needed confirmation of Flegal’s awesomeness, today I watched this lecture by Dr. Jeffrey Friedman, who discovered leptin, and he mentioned her as well. At the very end of the question and answer session, he talks about how he called Flegal to verify obesity rates and Flegal both confirmed his suspicions AND told him how exasperated she was that nobody would listen to her.
Well, Dr. Flegal, we’re listening and we value your work and your message immensely. So, I hope you all enjoy this conversation with Dr. Flegal (you can read my old introduction here).