Friday, February 25


While studying about Theoretical Definitions I came across this:

A recent effect of differing theoretical definitions occurred when millions of Americans went from normal to overweight in a day's time. The change in the theoretical definition of "overweight" was based on new theories put forth by the National Institutes of Health suggesting greater risks than originally believed. The government then changed the operational definition of "overweight" to "having a BMI over 25" (rather than 27 for women and 28 for men). Changing our understanding of when someone is "overweight" put several million more in that category, even though they had not actually gained or lost any weight. 
- from

I knew it!  I knew something was up about this 'we are all now obese' thing.  After teaching school for 7 years I tried to find these obese children everyone was talking about and I did NOT see them.  There were a great many normal sized children (several post-puberty children who were larger because of puberty!), but mostly they were inactive and sedentary children, not obese.  This change is the reason we all became obese over night.

Don't even get me started on the outrageousness of measuring the health of a person based on a chart created in the 1830's.  Has anyone taken into account that we are taller, broader, and have more muscle mass?  A National Health group changed this but did they take any modern genetic changes in human structure into consideration?  I do agree that as a more sedentary people, we will see the consequences of no longer threshing wheat in a field as we age with potentially increased health problems, but even when I was playing college basketball, working out 2.5 hours a day, I was still at the highest number allowable in the 'average' category for my height and size.  No matter what I do as a woman in her 30's (creeping towards 40's) I cannot be as small as I was post-puberty and in my early 20's.  People gain weight as they age, deal.  (This BMI crap, lost me several athletic awards in junior high and high school as I was considered 'unhealthy' by my teachers.)  BMI scale (and those damn callipers) drive me mental!!!!!

These health professionals need to do more studies to take into consideration modern day changes on the human form.  My ancestors were pioneers remember!  If they did not get bigger, stronger and more muscular they would have died along with the other skinny, little Europeans who did not make it through their first, second or third Canadian winter.  I noticed the size difference between me, a Canadian woman, and the majority of European people in the countries I visited.  The only country where people were even near my size was The Netherlands.  In this country I felt normal rather than the like a big, friendly Canadian giant.

Rant done.
BMI a limited and out-dated measure of health.
Who wants to do their PhD and change the system that has suddenly labelled so many of us obese?

Sadly, those who are truly obese are caught in a society in which prejudice is encouraged as we laugh at the fat loser in movies, allow 'professionals' to yell and scream at people trying to lose weight on 'reality' shows, and reinforce the belief that nothing is worse than being fat as these people are lazy, stupid and out of control.  Those are however social stereotypes and issues I shall discuss another time.


  1. Hi T - Well, yah, sing it sistah! I just polled a few men from my neighbourhood coffee shop. They asked my weight, I said 166. The older guy from Morocco said, lose 16 lbs, you'll feel great. The 29-year old got out his calculator, asked my height, and said lose 40 lbs. WTF. Nutter. I'm going to drop a dress size this year, not 4 dress sizes! I'm exercising daily, something I've never done before on a consistent basis. I really just want to be healthy for the later part of my life. Screw BMI and the calculations! I'm off to try hot yoga...I do hope it's HOT! Warm hugs, Pearl

  2. Adding a thought from a Facebook friend:

    Outstanding post! Agreed! Agreed! Agreed!
    1830's?! Seriously most people were 5' tall with a little change and weighed 120 lbs if they were lucky. There is a balance to be found so that accuracy in the general health of a society can be measured. But then again weight has become political right along with the extreme need to control. Either way anyone with any mass loses.

  3. Another comment from a Facebook friend:

    heck ya i could survive a pioneer winter :) tonia... this topic gets me going too. in highscool at a size 6 i weighed 150 lbs. someone of my height "should weigh" 120lbs or less. this too gave me a giant complex. i too will never be that size again, but why am i judged by this. why at a size 6 was i considered obese? i could only obtain 120lbs if i was dying.

  4. Oh how I love and miss you. I completely agree with you, especially since I was working in the Medical field for the last year. It was a bit of a shock for me living in the US because there were so many people who were larger then me. It was like the first time I ever felt normal just being me. Im not trying to say that I compared my largeness with them, but I just didn't feel abnormal about being a more voluptuous women. It was so much easier buying clothes at the mall, because they actually carried XL shirts that where ACTUALLY XL.

    I do have to say that I am really annoyed with all the "fat people" reality shows coming out right now. Which is why I don't watch them. The people they show are mostly people who use food as away suppress heartache and psychological issues, just as a person uses drugs or alcohol. Being "fat" is just a more visible addiction that everyone can see and point fingers at.

    Anyways I personally think BMI is a joke. At the clinic I worked at we used wheels that were given to us by different companies and or a chart. To be perfectly honest I checked two of the charts that were posted and three different BMI wheels and got different numbers each time but would still be considered OBESE on the BMI scale.