Re: Crossing the line, anyone
Dave: "Why take Mr Page's word for it when you could follow the link to, what I assume is, a peer-reviewed journal?"
Because the problem isn't with the study, which appears to be reasonably well-designed and draw sensible conclusions, but with Lewis' utterly batty derivation from it. He seems to be assuming that the incompetents he believes are generally running everything had no idea, until this BRILLIANT and SHOCKING piece of research, that being underweight was a really bad thing. The problem is, they did. Ask any health professional and they'll tell you. It's not as if the risks of bulimia / anorexia and so on are exactly unknown or under-publicised.
The reasons that, overall, obesity gets more focus / attention are pretty bloody simple and not affected at all by this study. One, there are a lot more obese people than underweight people. Two, obesity is much more 'normal'; people who are obese occasionally have really serious physical/mental problems, but usually they're just the usual 'eat too much, don't exercise enough' suspects. Obesity is much more susceptible to being addressed by general hectoring in the press, tweaking of policies on food tax and labelling and exercise, and mild intervention in the course of GP visits and that sort of thing.
People who are underweight are much much more likely to be suffering from a serious medical condition. You can't really put out a press release saying 'there's an anorexia epidemic! People should eat more and puke less!' and expect to get anywhere. They're utterly different issues subject to utterly different approaches. Lewis and zillions of others love to believe that The Government, health professionals, and really everyone but them is either incompetent, hoodwinked, evil, or otherwise Resistant To The Truth, but sadly for them, the fact is that health professionals do actually know what the hell they're doing most of the time. I know that doesn't make such a sexy story. Sorry, Lewis.