Are overweight people better prepared for famine?

Does it follow that if you are overweight you will survive in a famine situation longer than a regular-weight person, all other factors being equal?

Probably. Remember a few months ago when the Army Rangers got hypothermia and either died or were hospitalized? They had too little fat to keep them warm in the forests,etc. Don’t know for sure about famine, but that’s the reason we store excess calories, in order to burn them off later.

I’ll be there
Where I’ll teach what I’ve been taught
And I’ve been taught…

Doctors that specialize in treating the obese have speculated that some people’s bodies are more adept at storing fat for exactly that reason; it’s a throwback to a time of feast and famine.

Those that could store reserves of fat had a better chance of making it through those famine times . . . and live to reproduce, which is exactly why it affects far more women than men.

However, this explanation will not get you any bonus points in the dating game. “You look like you could live through a really long famine – that’s what I like about you.”

your humble TubaDiva

I used to comfort myself with the knowledge that, should I ever find myself stranded in the Andes with a South American soccar team, I would not have to eat any of them to survive.

This is a non-smoking area. If we see you smoking, we will assume you are on fire and act accordingly.

This may be true, Stoid, but if I were you I’d watch your back! :slight_smile:

I’d meant to bring up this subject myself, but someone beat me to it. Guess I’ll have to be happy with refining the question a little.

I’m a good sixty pounds overweight, courtesy of Domino’s and Budweiser. Assuming no food but plentiful water, how much longer might I survive than someone at or close to ideal weight for my height (which would be about 180 lbs.)? Wouldn’t a lack of water soluble vitamins be an immediate problem? I assume I have all the fat soluble vitamins I need.

I know individual metabolism varies greatly, so an educated guess is the best I expect here.


When the pin is pulled,
Mr. Grenade is no longer
our friend.

According to my imperfect memory, someone once studied the well known Donner Party and found it was the women who survived best, followed by the adolescent girls, then adolescent boys, then the adult men. All the females had, of course, more body fat, while the boys were simply younger and stronger.

Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to relive it. Georges Santayana


Good job on the question refinement. Although I failed to flesh out the question as well as you have, I’m wondering the same things myself. Folks?

Are you guys planning on being in a situation of starvation?

There are easier ways to lose weight you know.

I think the answer is yes, you would likely survive longer. How long? Depends on your metabolism and other factors. Would you be able to keep up normal amounts of work? Not likely. You would likely be in a weakened state.

As long as you got plenty of water you could last for days maybe weeks. I would not want to try and find out myself.


Not to get into a religious debate, but if Jesus really went forty days without any food, he must have looked like a concentration camp survivor by the end.

FANTASTIC: Was that a pun? :slight_smile:

LUMPY: Didn’t Jesus survive on honey and locusts?


It was unintentional. I can’t take credit.

Polecat: I think that was John the Baptist. I could look it up, but I’m lazy.

I had a high school french teacher from France during the time of the German occupation. I remember her mentioning that during the times of no food and crushing and boiling some type of berries to drink as a “coffee-appearance-drink” she as a young, slender child did not lose a lot of weight proportionally; while her mother ( who she described as a well-rounded woman) had become down right skinny during that time. Both my teacher and her mother survived, but I got the impression that her overweight mother suffered a lot more and became quite weak during the times of no food.
second point-- I remember reading how ( no racial debates please!) many women of African decent have large bottom halves ( hips and buttock area ) due to the point refered to previously of storing fat ( which is actually stored energy )as a genetic evolution due to the harvest seasons. Also referred to as feast or famine in an earlier post.

One must learn by doing things; for though you think you know it you have no certainty until you try.

In 1981 it took 66 days for Bobby Sands to die. He probably wasn’t in great nutritional shape before he started fasting though.