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Continued: Readers Write: (June 21): Surveillance, pay equity, dietary habits

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  • Last update: June 20, 2013 - 9:09 PM

 

The writers, respectively, represent Gender Justice and the Pay Equity Coalition of Minnesota.

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DIETARY HABITS

The latest news is not so helpful

The American Medical Association, intent on boosting the “business of medicine,” has declared obesity a disease. The definitions used for obesity have no scientific foundation; the data quoted on relationship to disease is based on flawed studies. The largest meta-analysis, covering 65,000 people and published in the Lancet last year, showed that overweight and moderately obese people live longer and are healthier than so-called ­normal-weight and underweight people.

Clearly, the AMA is most interested in insurance reimbursement for bariatric surgery, while Big Pharma is looking for reimbursement for weight-loss drugs. Anyone remember how well that worked with Phen-fen? We need to be promoting healthy eating and exercise, but we do not need to stigmatize millions of Americans with the “disease” label.

ROBERT VEITCH, Minneapolis

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Should adults eat breakfast every day? A June 18 article said we should, based on a University of Minnesota study that linked the skipping of breakfast to diabetes. But linking is not causation, and whether adults should eat breakfast every day is contentious. According to Guyton’s Textbook of Medical Physiology, there is no physiologic reason to eat a morning meal. That more than 25 percent of adults skip breakfast every day as it is would suggest that it is not a crucial ritual to observe.

In epidemiologic studies like this one, uncontrolled variables are important to consider. People who are fastidious (read: compulsive) about eating breakfast — especially a cereal-based one — are likely to be equally fastidious about getting the proper exercise, eating the right foods or seeing a doctor regularly. It is probably out of these unexplored factors that the “link” with a lower incidence of diabetes arises.

In 2003, a study analyzing data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey was published. With 16,000 participants, breakfast was looked at carefully. The study authors found that people who skipped breakfast consumed on average 10 percent fewere calories per day than their breakfast-eating counterparts. Also, people who consumed a noncereal breakfast had a higher body mass index than did those who skipped breakfast.

DR. STEPHEN FARNES, Excelsior

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