The science geek in me is always intrigued when I come across a documentary where investigators are able to crack old, unsolved murder cases using forensic science. It amazes me the things they are able to learn from a couple of human bones they uncover. And I was equally amazed this morning when I came across a headline that read: “Study finds that overweight people really are big-boned.'” It turns out that forensic science isn’t just good for solving murder mysteries’it can help us understand weight issues, too.
According to new research from North Carolina State University, the shape of the femur can tell provide information about the weight of an individual. This is an important discovery, because identifying weight has traditionally been a blind spot in forensic science.
Researchers found that the heavier the individual, the wider the femur shaft. They believe the increased width may be a result of the femur having to bear more weight, and because overweight individuals move and walk differently to compensate for their weight.
‘This research allows us to determine whether an individual was overweight based solely on the characteristics of a skeleton’s femur, or thigh bone,‘ says Dr. Ann Ross, an associate professor of anthropology and co-author of a paper describing the research, in a news release.
Now, most of us are not forensic scientists’although if you are my friend, you might think you are when watching CSI’but this article has more general points to consider, beyond forensics. There is something to be said about how being overweight can not only have a lasting impact on your health, increasing you risk of heart attack and diabetes, but how your bones also have to physically adapt to compensate.
So maybe you can use the "big boned" excuse after all’but as this research suggests, it’s not the bones that make you overweight‘it’s you who changes your bones. So before you blame your frame, consider what’s really behind those excess pounds.