Judging health just on weight is quite naive and myopic in my experience. Some people gain and keep weight quite easily while others stay thin no matter what. Genetics, drug use, overwork, too much stress, etc. can keep some people thin no matter what. I'm one of those. Genetics and a spinal injury from child abuse kept me from ever going above the very low end of normal weight. I grew up on a diet exclusively composed of junk food, meat, and candy. Half the people I knew called me lucky and the other half (including some doctors) laughed at me and called me a crack head. It took a long time before I really looked at other such people that were older than I and watched them slowly dying screaming in pain from the diseases they got from diets that 'should have made them fat'. Watching my father die like that is what finally made me snap.
Thats why some studies show no real benefit of being thin, because they look at a fairly homogenous population eating horrible to outright abhorrent diets.
To quote a particularly wise paper from the medical literature
Sick individuals and sick populations (rose,2001)
...If everyone smoked 20 cigarettes a day, then clinical, case-control and cohort studies alike would lead us to conclude that lung cancer was a genetic disease; and in one sense that would be true, since if everyone is exposed to the necessary agent, then the distribution of cases is wholly determined by individual susceptibility.
(The full text of that paper is free and available in HTML or PDF formats, if anyone has any interest whatsoever in reading medical literature I recommend reading that paper in full)
Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy
sectors of the economy would just collapse if we all woke up one morning feeling great about ourselves. What could they sell us if that happened?
Thailand once gave an amusingly blatant inadvertent acknowledgement to that principal. In old thailand the monks taught people to be content, friendly, and happy. Families often just had a one room hut for ten people but they were happy. When the government decided to 'modernize' society in the 70's they had trouble convincing people to work to develop industrial sectors, why bother when your happy already right?
So the government actually plastered the countryside with billboards with slogans like 'Your not happy, buy more things!'
The sad part was when the campaign worked.
Be bad for the economy- be happy!