Don't sweat that health advice

DID you ever get the feeling that when it comes to reaching that mythical balance between work, play, eating and exercise, the experts are winging it just as much as the rest of us?

Not counting the obligatory miracle diet stories that are force fed on A Current Affair or Today Tonight several times a week, there is a regular flow of stories covering the broad topic of the latest research into diet/exercise in mainstream media.

Fair enough, given the rate of obesity in this country - a hard to stomach, yet undisputable fact.

But it is the contradictory nature of these articles that must leave your average Norm wondering if he should consume more chocolate, less chocolate, more carbs, less carbs, more wine or less wine.

The same goes for exercise - a colleague in the QT this week told me of a study that found to stay relatively healthy, a person need only do three minutes of strenuous exercise per week - combined of course with a sensible diet.

Just this week, a new study emerged, suggesting that people with a body mass index in the slightly overweight category lived longer than those who slotted into the normal category.

All those people spending their spare time jogging may as well save us all the effort and get to work digging their own graves - because according to the study, a person with what was once considered a good body mass index is now considered 6% more likely to die in "a given period" than a person with a BMI in the overweight category.

The question needs to be asked: of what use is the BMI system if, for one, it doesn't take into account a person's muscle mass and, two, a healthy BMI leads to imminent death?

Before we go any further, I should declare an interest in this topic. I have had a vendetta against the BMI ever since it started calling me fat several years ago.

I have maintained over those years that I am not fat, but big boned.

Although this latest study proves I might have been onto something, I remain cynical of anything resembling advice on how to eat and exercise in order to remain "healthy".

If I was a doctor - and I never will be - I would say do whatever makes you feel good, but don't waste your time worrying about what the experts say.

They keep changing their minds every week anyway.

Besides, having the perfect body isn't going to save you from skin cancer, a nuclear holocaust, or a 747 landing on your house.

Topics:  health advice, naughty korner, opinion



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