Published on April 12th, 2014 | by Margaret Pardoe0
Lies, damn lies and statistics
“Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint”
“Lies, damn lies and statistics”
Ever checked your weight with a height and weight chart?
Told you were overweight after someone checked for you??
Presumed these charts came from extensive medical research into the optimum weight for health???
Do you know who invented them and why????
The Chief Statistician, Louis Dublin, of what was at the time the biggest Life Insurance Company in the world – Metropolitan Life!
Louis Dublin was reviewing premiums in the early 1940’s and compared age people died (4 million customers) with weight when they first took out their policy.
And, with no evidence-based research, concluded that if you were overweight you were more likely to die young.
- Nothing medical!
- Nothing researched!
- No clinical trials!
- No control group!
- Nothing proven!
But Dublin then drew up a chart – based on weight between the ages of 25 and 30 years
Based on flawed data!
Overnight half the US were classified as overweight – many just normal healthy individuals
This chart was adopted by the medical establishment and then the US government and subsequently worked its way around the world!
The social impact was incalculable!
These insecurities, more prevalent in women, were further fanned by the flames of the fashion industry, starting with the 1947 “New Look” by Dior, demanding a 17 inch waist!
An impossible dream leading to a whole new industry with undreamt of profits!
The impact on physical and psychological health was incalculable!
Doctors told people they needed to diet – based on these flawed statistics from an insurance company!
The medical establishment then advised weight loss without medical evidence of the necessity and no understanding of the long term implications of weight loss through dieting, both physical and psychological.
There was, in place, a fully researched wartime study by Ancel Keys which could have flagged up the dangers, but was seemingly ignored.
And the obesity epidemic began!
The diet industry was born out of flawed statistics and the bottom line took on a whole new meaning!