Weight discrimination is problematic, especially in light of the debate between fit vs. fat (“Weight discrimination could be as common as racial bias,” Life, May 21).

A wealth of research has shown that sedentary lifestyles clearly play a role in health and longevity. But weight’s impact on disease and death isn’t so clear. In fact, federal researchers have shown that overweight Americans have the lowest death rate of any weight group and that those few extra pounds actually have a protective effect against some diseases.

On the other hand, physical inactivity takes a toll, inside and out.

A 2007 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association determined that physical activity levels, regardless of weight, determine morbidity.

And another study found that individuals who forgo regular exercise age prematurely. So regardless of body weight, Americans who are physically active live longer and look younger than their couch-bound counterparts.

Bottom line: When it comes to America’s health, La-Z-Boy chairs are a bigger threat than love handles.

Trice Whitefield
Senior research analyst
Center for Consumer Freedom
Washington