Way Outside the Bell Curve

Per the US CDC’s Anthropometric Reference Data (PDF) 5% of adult, non-pregnant women in the US weigh less than 111lbs, and 95% weigh less than 250lbs.   90% of US women weigh between 111 and 250lbs.

This is why I consider myself a statistical outlier, weight-wise.  As I’ve noted before, in some ways I’m a freak of nature — most humans simply can’t weigh as much as I do.   And most adults can’t weigh less than 111lbs.

This article from the German newspaper Der Spiegel profiles a woman who is also far outside the average, but on the other side.   Lizzie Velasquez weighs 62lbs and was born with neonatal progeroid syndrome (NPS); she has zero body fat.   Not low body fat – zero.  Most children born with the NPS die within the first year or suffer mental retardation.  In Lizzie Velasquez’ case, her brain developed normally.  The lack of fat reserves affects her appearance, but also her stamina — she gets hungry much more frequently than other people, and shows starvation symptoms (listlessness, immune resistance) if she doesn’t eat when hunger pangs hit.  Ms Velasquez reportedly averages 8,000 calories throughout the day.

I don’t envy Ms Velasquez her NPS.  Nor do I think it’s something to joke about, any more than anorexia.   But I am glad that she seems comfortable with herself, not pining for a cure.

6 thoughts on “Way Outside the Bell Curve

  1. How does anyone eat 8000 calories a day? I would explode I guess. I weigh a bit over 300, If there could just be some kind of middle line between her condition and mine……..

  2. Did anyone else find the tone of that article really annoying? With the mentions of “she says she’s happy, but she has to lay around in bed when she gets sick! She gets high blood pressure! She’s actually a medical miracle, all those overweight people would love to have her genes!”

    Anyway.

    It’s a bit weird how she says “At least I don’t have to pay for it” with all the junk food she eats, but she still gets high blood pressure etc. Like the high blood pressure isn’t a negative, but gaining weight would be? I didn’t really get that.

    Either way, I’m really happy that girl is so at peace with her body. For someone who is apparently viewed “Like the Elephant Man,” I am really pleased she takes her body and life in stride. Good for her!

  3. This post got me thinking about my diet travails and I had an AHA! moment. I’ve dieted on and off since my family doctor proscribed uppers for me because at age 15 I weighed a whopping 147lbs(I’m 5ft 5in). Later on in life I dieted down to that weight again and found that I was a size 6. Anyway no matter how much I diet or regain I always wind up at around 165-175. I probably reset my set point upward with all of my yoyo dieting. I guess that genes are destiny in the case of weight. The evidence has been right in front of my eyes. I just have to look at the women in my family. Some of us are smaller than others but we are all shaped the same and tend to gain weight very easily.

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