Tag Archives: risk

New Study Suggests Fat Correlated With Lower Risk For Dementia


Nearly 60 percent of the brain is composed of fatty acids.

Previously we heard that obesity increased your risk of dementia.  Now a new study contradicts these former findings and suggests that increased body size is correlated with a decreased risk for dementia.  I say correlated with, because no causal link has yet been found.  And we don’t want to go the way of those finger pointers who say that being fat “causes” sickness by saying being fat “prevents” sickness.  We simply don’t know that much yet.

However, this new study does seem to indicate that there is a strong correlation between low body weight and dementia in middle aged people.  The study reviewed statistics for nearly 2 Million people from the United Kingdom Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD).  The CPRD data included people over 40 who had their BMI measured between 1992 and 2007.  (The median age for those measured was 55.)

The study found that compared to those of a “healthy weight” (heavy airquotes here) those who were underweight (BMI less than 20) had a 34% higher risk for dementia.  As people got fatter, their risk for dementia decreased–with the fattest people (BMI over 40) experiencing a 29 percent lower risk of dementia than those with “healthy weight”.

Cue the inevitable articles about the “obesity paradox”.  This is the title given to the fact that fat people are at lower risk for certain conditions than skinny people, despite the medical establishment’s insistence that this shouldn’t be the case.  This is the label given to the fact that overall, “overweight” people live longer than “healthy weight” people.  It really makes me wonder when they are finally going to do away with the “healthy weight” label, since in many cases, other weights are healthier than the healthy weight level.  And it also makes me wonder when they are going to stop calling something a paradox, when it clearly isn’t one.  Some weight ranges come with higher risks in some areas and lower risks in other areas.  And maybe we will come to realize that there isn’t one healthy weight, but rather a range of risks that slide around in various places on the BMI chart.

As reported by the BBC (LINK WARNING, HEADLESS FATTY PHOTOS GALORE) Alzheimer’s Society’s Dr Doug Brown said: “People should make positive lifestyle choices to keep their brains healthy by taking regular exercise, not smoking and following a healthy balanced diet.”  This seems sound HAES oriented advice to me.  Naturally, despite the fact that this study is much larger and more detailed than previous studies that claimed that obesity increased the risk for dementia, there’s a lot of head scratching and backpedaling going on.  The article is careful to point out that there is no clear causal link yet evident (hence the opening of this blog post).  If you have the sanity points to spare, you can click on that BBC link earlier in this paragraph to read things like, “Sure you’ll be less likely to get dementia if you live long enough.”  and “This is no excuse to sit on the couch and eat an extra piece of cake.”  Because somehow, no matter what the evidence shows, some medical professionals just have to get their jab in at the fatties.

I am just hopelessly naive enough to imagine a day when the “healthy weight” category is called something else.  I imagine that over time we will find more and more evidence that being fat has risks, being skinny has risks and being midsized has risks.  After all, being alive has risks, for people of all sizes.  Maybe we can finally focus on living the best, most productive, most joyful and healthiest life in the bodies we have right now.

Food for thought.


Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

Why it’s so Good to Fail Big and Fail Often


I was recently inspired by this article in New York Times Magazine called “Be Wrong as Fast as You Can”.  It talks, in no uncertain terms about how the author runs around with tons of super great ideas in his head.  These ideas are fabulous.  These ideas are perfect.  These ideas CAN. NOT. FAIL.  Why?  Because these ideas live only in the author’s head where there are no risks, where nothing is impossible, and  where everything is still potentially perfect.  He talks about what keeps him from turning these ideas into reality.  And the conclusion he draws is that it’s fear of failure that’s keeping him back.

Hmmm.  I have to say this sounds kinda familiar.  How many years of my life have I spent with super great ideas in my head?  You know–the ones that give me something to talk about at parties, doodle about in my dream book, and discuss after uncorking the second bottle of chardonnay?  But how often have these ideas stayed in my head and never made it out into the cold, cruel world?  How many ideas never became real because I still haven’t learned how to fail?

The author of the article, New York Times Magazine editor Hugo Lindgren suggests that over the years he’s had a lot of theories about what he needs to do quit procrastinating and making his dreams real.  He found his answer in an interview with John Lasseter on the Charlie Rose show.  It seems the folks at Pixar have an in-house theory for success, “Be wrong as fast as you can.”

Yup. I’ve gotta say, I’m hearing some bells ringing here.  If you want your ideas to turn into stuff that can be seen out in the world and possibly, you know, help some people, you’ve got bump those little birds out of the nest to see if they can fly.  Some of your ideas won’t make it.  Some of them will fail.  In that case, I say good riddance.  You were clogging up your brain space with plans for impossible, un-buildable stuff.  Get rid of it.  Make room for another crazy idea.  But some of your ideas will frantically flap their little wings and start to get a little lift.  And now you’re on your way to making your ideas work.

But if you want to see if that little birdie can fly, you can’t push it out of a nest that is five inches from the ground.  You’ve got to give the idea room to get flapping.  If you’re going to fail, you should do it spectacularly.  Don’t fail because you were timid.  Don’t let your ideas fail because you let your fears talk you into half-measures or half-hearted attempts.  You’ve got to endure risk to have the potential for reward.

So, I’m stepping out on a limb right here and announcing that this week I will be launching a new web video show called “Right Now”.  I’ll give you a sneak preview and let you know that in the very first episode we’ll talk about why your body, your mind and your spirit are right now, and why you should stop waiting and pursue what you want in your life right now.

It may succeed.  It may fail.  But if I do fail, I hope I fail spectacularly!


The Fat Chick