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2006 vs 1988: BMI 2.3 higher today even when eating same diet

Biggest take away from article:

"They found a very surprising correlation: A given person, in 2006, eating the same amount of calories, taking in the same quantities of macronutrients like protein and fat, and exercising the same amount as a person of the same age did in 1988 would have a BMI that was about 2.3 points higher. In other words, people today are about 10 percent heavier than people were in the 1980s, even if they follow the exact same diet and exercise plans."

Here is the whole thing:
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/09/why-it-was-easier-to-be-skinny-in-the-1980s/407974/

thoughts? BS? interesting?

I wanted to discuss this with friends but none of my real life friends are into food/environment stuff.
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Replies

  • Need2Exerc1se
    Need2Exerc1se Posts: 13,577 Member
    Interesting. My guess, and that's all it is, would to agree that it's likely the added chemicals.

    I'll be honest it does seem a lot harder now than then. I wrote it off to lifestyle changes but maybe there are other factors as well.
  • kristen8000
    kristen8000 Posts: 747 Member
    In 1988 there were half as many "convience foods" with additives and preservatives. That's the only thing I can think of that's different. But I was only 10, a very tall, lanky 10.
  • Need2Exerc1se
    Need2Exerc1se Posts: 13,577 Member
    How accurate was their calorie counting in 1988? I know, for me, counting calories back then was laborious. Flipping through pages in a calorie counting book, I'm sure the info was not up to date.

    Why would you assume it was less correct or up-to-date because it was in a book instead of a database? But I believe the study said then and now survey data was used.
  • mathjulz
    mathjulz Posts: 5,526 Member
    Are we still the same height as in 1988?

    It compares BMI, so takes height into account. :wink:
  • ccrdragon
    ccrdragon Posts: 3,264 Member
    there is also the issue that the BMI charts were changed - moving the weights down (i.e. good range now less than it was originally) sometime during that same time period.
  • Need2Exerc1se
    Need2Exerc1se Posts: 13,577 Member
    ccrdragon wrote: »
    there is also the issue that the BMI charts were changed - moving the weights down (i.e. good range now less than it was originally) sometime during that same time period.

    Did the actual calculation change, or just at what number one is considered overweight or obese?
  • mathjulz
    mathjulz Posts: 5,526 Member
    ccrdragon wrote: »
    there is also the issue that the BMI charts were changed - moving the weights down (i.e. good range now less than it was originally) sometime during that same time period.

    Did the actual calculation change, or just at what number one is considered overweight or obese?

    IIRC it's just the threshold numbers.
  • JetJaguar
    JetJaguar Posts: 801 Member
    edited May 2017
    I'll take a look at the original study, but I'd guess there are lifestyle changes as well and people were generally more physically active in their daily activities then. Take a sedentary office worker, for example. Today you have a computer on your desk and looking up a file takes just a few key clicks, but thirty years ago that meant actually getting up, walking to a file cabinet, and physically pulling out a file folder full of documents.
  • StarBrightStarBright
    StarBrightStarBright Posts: 97 Member
    edited May 2017
    xmichaelyx wrote: »
    Survey data often isn't useful, depending on what's being surveyed. Survey data regarding dietary and exercise habits activity level are totally useless.

    And the fact that one of the author's of the "study" clearly has an axe to grind, based on her comments in the linked article. Some people go to great lengths to blame their obesity on everything but their behavior.

    I agree that self reported survey data isn't perfect - but don't studies usually correct for confounders and over/under reporters? I thought I remember reading an interview with Colin Campbel where he talked about having to correct the data in the nurses health study.

    I also agree that CICO covers most weightloss - but I think it is still possible to lose weight and still have it be harder to lose weight at the same time. Those two things aren't mutually exclusive.

    I'm one of those people who suspects there are lots of environmental factors that are combining to make it easier for everyone to gain weight (chemicals as endocrin disruptors, hormones, gut microbiome, etc). My DH and I are purposefully building our lives in a way that makes it easier for us to be healthy as a family (walkable neighborhood, healthy food sources, good habits, etc) - but it takes a lot of work to be a healthy family. I feel like the point of the study was that it didn't used to BE AS MUCH WORK (not yelling, just emphasizing) to be healthy - now it takes real effort and money.
  • StarBrightStarBright
    StarBrightStarBright Posts: 97 Member
    It seems to all be based on data from guided, but self reported, information on food and activity, which are notoriously unreliable. And outside of the recalled and reported physical activity used in the study, folks in general are less active, which effects TDEE.

    Link to the actual study:
    obesityresearchclinicalpractice.com/article/S1871-403X(15)00121-0/fulltext#sec0015

    Thanks for the link to the Study!
  • Need2Exerc1se
    Need2Exerc1se Posts: 13,577 Member
    xmichaelyx wrote: »
    Survey data often isn't useful, depending on what's being surveyed. Survey data regarding dietary and exercise habits activity level are totally useless.

    And the fact that one of the author's of the "study" clearly has an axe to grind, based on her comments in the linked article. Some people go to great lengths to blame their obesity on everything but their behavior.

    I agree that self reported survey data isn't perfect - but don't studies usually correct for confounders and over/under reporters? I thought I remember reading an interview with Colin Campbel where he talked about having to correct the data in the nurses health study.

    I also agree that CICO covers most weightloss - but I think it is still possible to lose weight and be harder to lose weight at the same time. Those two things aren't mutually exclusive.

    I'm one of those people who suspects there are lots of environmental factors that are combining to make it easier for everyone to gain weight (chemicals as endocrin disruptors, hormones, gut microbiome, etc). My DH and I are purposefully building our lives in a way that makes it easier for us to be healthy as a family (walkable neighborhood, healthy food sources, good habits, etc) - but it takes a lot of work to be a healthy family. I feel like the point of the study was that it didn't used to BE AS MUCH WORK (not yelling, just emphasizing) to be healthy - now it takes real effort and money.

    That's not what it said. It said it took less calories to gain the same amount of weight now vs. then. But I didn't see where they were doing any type of measurement of fat, so the difference in weight very well could be attributed to something other than calories. Gaining weight and gaining fat are not the same things.