Monday, December 22, 2014

Corpulent Cops and Slinky Shrinks: Obesity Rates by Profession

If you want to be at a healthy weight, think twice about becoming a cop. Whether it's the doughnuts or the stress, about 40% of police officers are obese. Ditto for firefighters and security guards.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are psychologists, scientists and economists, only 14% of whom meet the criteria for being obese (body mass index of 30 or above).

An infographic published in The Wall Street Journal paints an interesting picture of how different professions rank according to weight.

It was a little surprising to me that so many police officers are overweight since that would be a real hindrance to chasing criminals. Most of the cops I see on TV are hunks, although some of the Staten Island police in the Garner case looked like they spent too much time at Dunkin' Donuts.

I was less surprised that social workers and clergy had a higher chance of being obese than the average Josephine since people in helping professions may soak up other people's negative emotions and eat more comfort foods to numb their feelings.

So why are economist, scientists and psychologists at the low end of the obesity range? My best guess is that people in these professions are data driven and know how to eat and move properly to avoid gaining weight. Instead of blindly following USDA guidelines that promote excess carbohydrate consumption, they keep up with the latest research that suggests the government recommendations are based on skewed data designed to benefit big agriculture.

Some people may argue that BMI is a false measure that does not take into account higher muscle mass. We've all seen those firemen's calendars depicting muscular dudes with six-pack abs. But the authors of a study called "Addressing the Epidemic of Obesity in the United States Fire Service" concluded that firefighters do, indeed, have a weight problem, and presented the following possible causes:
* Attempts to improve nutrition in the firehouse often are met with resistance.

* Firefighters often consume diets high in processed carbohydrates and sugar, which promote obesity and cardiovascular disease.

* Firefighters overestimate the ability of physical activity to counteract the impact of large food portions or unhealthy dietary choices.
The last reason really intrigued me because many obesity experts suggest that people who exercise regularly may not lose weight because they view it as a license to eat more food.

"You can eat a Big Mac in 15 minutes, and it takes an hour to take that off with biking," says Patricia Crawford of UC Berkeley's Center for Weight and Health. "There's just no comparison -- there's no way we can exercise off a bad diet. The days aren't long enough."

Which makes sense given that lunch at a Largo, Fla., fire station one day consisted hot dogs, chili, cheese, Tater Tots, cole slaw and brownies.

The bottom line? Unless you practically live at the gym, it is almost impossible to outrun the calories you consume -- especially if you eat a diet high in refined carbohydrates and have a job that releases frequent bursts of cortisol.

You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for no extra cost -- through the co-branded website of a Medifast TSFL health coach. Medifast does not recommend purchasing its products from third party vendors, but if you choose to do so, you can find them on both Amazon and eBay.

Medifast Custom Order - You Choose ANY 10 Boxes

More from Diet Skeptic:

Can You Drink Alcohol on Medifast

Medifast Centers Vs. Take Shape for Life

Planned Exceptions: What Is Your Pie Policy?

Wabi Sabi Dieting & Renee Zelwegger's New Face

Women Who Pin Too Much: Confessions of a Low Carb Recipe Collector

Follow Nancy's board Low Carb Recipes on Pinterest.

No comments:

Post a Comment