Americans Are Fatter Than They Think!

I tweeted this, but I’m just not sure how to fully express the snark this deserves, so I thought y’all might want to give it a try.

See, a study has discovered that…drumroll…BMI can be inaccurate!!!!  Really!!!  You might be fat and not know it!!!  (eeek!)  And since most people who are “overweight or obese” aren’t actually very fat, increasing the number of people who think they need to lose weight can increase customers for the weight cycling industry.

….

I keep thinking I’m missing something here.  Got anything else?

19 thoughts on “Americans Are Fatter Than They Think!

  1. What a great way to get women to hate themselves even more! Yay!

    My 130lb friend found that her waist measurement was more than the 35 inches that the government were recommending in some anti obesity campaign and nobody could believe it. Trust me, this girl is skiiiiiiiiiny, but she just happens to store fat around her waist. Big whoop!

    Luckily, she is a strong lady and she said she was disgusted because she thought if she had had an eating disorder then that stupid campaign would have made her revert back to it. She is right.

    I wonder will the fat acceptance move ever make any lasting progress in my lifetime? It makes me so sad for all the pain and suffering people are put through. All the dashed dreams, derisive slurs, abuse and self hate caused by this fat hating culture.

  2. BMI has always perplexed me. I decided to ignore it. It’s a bunch of BS in my book! Don’t you love all these initials for everything? But really, it’s all just one more line of bull excremnt.

  3. My favorite part in the LA Times version of this story that I read was the emphasis on how using the BMI numbers causes the fatness of older women in particular to be underestimated and this was a terrible thing, with absolutely no acknowledgment that 1) women and men tend to have different bodies! or 2) life expectancy for women is higher than for men in this country.

    Or, what Phyllis said – just more of the same BS.

  4. When I saw that, I *facepalmed* so hard I have a black eye! Could it be more transparent!

    May I suggest that people who wonder if they are unhealthy or not, get a check up with their doctor rather than panic because the media suggests they may be OMG!obese without knowing it!

    Also – its normal and healthy to gain fat as you age. People who lose weight in old age have a higher mortality rate! So putting old ladies on diets will hardly be beneficial to them!

  5. Basically, now that the obesity rate has levelled off, they need a new way to maintain the obesity!panic! Moving the parameters has worked nicely in the past so they are trying it again!

  6. And by increasing customers for the weight cycling industry, do you perhaps mean customers for lead author Eric Braverman MD’s book The Younger (Thinner) You Diet?

    Or are you referring to office visits with the good doctor (complete with head-to-toe ultrasounds!) or executive health assessments at his practice, PATH medical: PATH case studies. (I recommend poking around that site a bit — a person could drop some serious cash in that place.)

    Dr. Braverman may also be the “president of the nonprofit Path Foundation in New York City, which supports brain research,” as described in the Time article you linked to, but dude’s definitely in the for-profit game.

    [I’m crossing fingers that I’ve not messed up all the tags terribly & that this turns out legible. I’m the worst at html.]

      • yup. And because I can’t leave well enough alone I looked up the article and took some creative liberties with the first paragraph:

        “Dwindling diet book sales are a serious concern that are associated with an increased risk of canceled publishing deals, fewer television appearances, diminished name recognition, and decreased bragging rights. The United States Centers for Happiness Control and Prevention estimates that 50% of people are larger than average. Currently, the body mass index (BMI), is most commonly used to determine what 703 times the ratio of a person’s weight in pounds to the square of that person’s height in inches is. However, BMI presents as an inaccurate disposable income classification method that underestimates the potential market for harmful diet books and pricey boutique medicine and contributes to a suboptimal revenue stream. In this study, we examine the effectiveness of lab coats, framed diplomas, and medical jargon in increasing our net worth.”

  7. I so agree TheHuldra. I mean, 99.9% of people don’t know that they moved the BMI goalposts in 1998 for a start. The sad thing for me personally is that in 2007 I was 154bs, but wanted to lose weight because I wasn’t in the ‘normal’ BMI range. All that happened was that I ended up developing an eating disorder!! And up until 1998, the normal weight range for my height was up to 161lbs! So, if that stupid definition hadn’t changed, I probably never would have developed an eating disorder. I didn’t even think I was fat at 154lbs, I just wanted to be nicely in the *normal* range.

    Will we ever see any change in our lifetime, I wonder?

  8. I learned from my doctor’s office the other day that my BMI is “hovering on the edge of ‘overweight’.” I fluctuate between “normal” and “overweight” BMI depending on how much clothing I’m wearing and/or whether I’ve taken a big poo yet that day. Even just drinking or not-drinking any water for a few hours can move me from one category to the other and back.

    Based on this article, I guess that *really* means that I’m a fatty fatastrophe and had better run around screaming until I find a Weight Watchers?

    I haven’t been diagnosed with an ED, but I have engaged in a lot of disordered eating in my life, and I can feel both of these “facts” (my BMI and “oh noes you don’t know how fat you are!”) tugging at the desire to subsist on popcorn and string cheese again. Probably won’t, since I know what it is and I have the spoons to push it away right now, but I know not everyone will encounter this “study” in that same frame of mind. :(

    • librariancatgracie

      I totally agree with you. These categorisation systems just keep getting lower and lower; when is it going to stop? When they can lump 100% of the population into the ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’ category? Like you, I’m not obese, but being in the ‘overweight’ category caused me to develop an ED. Unlike most anorexics etc. I didn’t even think I was that fat at 154lbs, I just desperately wanted to be in the ‘normal’ range. If the year had been 1997 though, 154 would have easily been in the normal range and I may never have developed the ED at all.

      I also find it absolutely crazy that 155lbs is ‘overweight’ for a 5’5″ woman. I mean, most women of that height and weight wear a 10 or even an 8. WTH?

      This study makes me sooooooooooooo mad.

      • It does make no sense. At 5’3″ and 140 lbs (on average on any given day), I’m right on the normal-vs-overweight line. Yet I wear a U.S. 6-8. ???

        • Seriously, how can a person who wears a size 6 or 8 be overweight? Anyone with an iota of common sense can see how ludicrous that is. Grooooooooooooan!

          Did you diet to get into the ‘normal’ weight range? That’s why I dieted and all that happened was that I ended up with an ED, which I’ll be forever mentally scarred by. :(

          • My disordered eating (I hesitate to call it a “diet,” though that’s what it was) actually was worst when I was in the “underweight” range. I was practically skeletal but I had hips, which I hated and was convinced I could get rid of by eating about half of what my body kept insisting it needed to live. Not so much – this turns out to be just the shape I am, no matter how much padding is on me.

            I put on the extra weight when I learned I had celiac disease and stopped eating gluten, but I also feel so much better now that it’s easier to like my body than it used to be – although I did have a pretty major freakout when my jeans stopped fitting, until I bought new ones. I haven’t stopped the disordered eating, but I’m not obsessed with it the way I once was.

            • In what way do you still practice disordered eating, if you don’t mind my asking? It’s so hard isn’t it? On the one hand, we’re told to love ourselves, but on the other are there *any* overweight role models out there? Not people flying the flag for weight in an apologetic way, but glamorous successful role models that we women are encouraged to emulate? Sadly, I can’t even think of one….

              I was just told by my brother that dinner tomorrow would be at a different time than originally planned (and now it won’t fit in with my strict three meal routine) and I basically had a meltdown. Sigh, I’m not sure that I’ll ever be 100% recovered….

              I wonder when the campaigns about the health dangers of eating disorders will start….. I’d LOVE to see a campaign that tried to root out women who didn’t realise that they had an eating disorder. Trust me, that’s a large segment of the population!!!

              I mean, the study above is such a load of crap because even thin women with normal BMIs think they are fat!!!!

              After all, I spent four years thinking I was ‘dieting’ even though my brand of dieting involved avoiding everyone (parties, family dinners, meals out), so that I could stay home and obsess about my next meal, visit Internet ‘diet’ forums, plan recipes, log my foods into a nutrition data base and think about food in between said activities.

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