Thursday, March 17, 2005


If you are reading this then you are probably either overweight or obese. I can say that because, according to current standards, nearly everyone in the world is classified this way.

Americans are so fat that life expectancy is about to start dropping instead of increasing. See here, and here, and so on.

Nor is this limited to the US. Europe is having the same problem:
The European Commission has pledged to tackle a European 'obesity epidemic', as new figures show the number of overweight schoolchildren in the EU rising by about 400,000 per year. The EU executive does not rule out legislation if its plan for a voluntary approach does not work.
As is Singapore:
More Singaporeans risk suffering stroke, diabetes and other diseases as obesity levels rise in the affluent Southeast Asian city-state, a new government system of measuring body fat shows.
The problem even includes half the NBA.

And everyone is talking about legislation. I cannot imagine anything more intrusive.

So what is going on here? All of this is based on the Body Mass Index (BMI). Ideal weight used to be figured on insurance actuarial tables. These had breakdown for height, build, and gender. The BMI simplifies this to a simple equation:

1. Measure and record your weight in pounds
2. Measure and record your height in inches
3. Body Mass Index = weight (in pounds) X 704.5 divided by (height in inches X height in inches)

  • Under 20 (19 for women): Underweight
  • Between 20 and 24.99: Normal Weight
  • Between 25 and 29.99: Overweight
  • Between 30 and 34.99: Obese Class 1
  • Between 35 and 39.99: Obese Class 2
  • 40 and above: Extreme (Morbid) Obesity
It should be noted that the BMI levels were adjusted down a couple of point a few years ago with little justification. Formerly a BMI of 27 was normal. Now it is mid-overweight. Also, the BMI makes no distinction between fat and muscle which is why the NBA scores so bad.

There have been suggestions for years that the same trial lawyers involved in the tobacco suits are gearing up to sue "big food". That puts a different spin on things.

For a bit of sanity, look at this article in TechCentralStation.

• evidence shows that as we've been getting heavier for generations, our health and longevity keep improving

• virtually all weight loss "treatments" fail to work long-term

• simply living active lives makes body weights a nonissue

Here's the link showing that diets are worthless and here is a link showing the problems in a well-publicized CDC report. So summarize, studies have shown that lifestyle, meaning how active you are, makes a huge difference in you health. Journalistic laziness changed inactivity into obesity.

Just as with global warming, a possible trend is being projected as a disaster despite current trends. Crop yields and lifespan are increasing but suddenly these upward trends will reverse themselves unless we give the government control over our lives comparable to Big Brother in 1984.

Go eat some Girl Scout cookies and relax.

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