"When you talk about the Obesity Epidemic, you are talking about me. (And probably yourself. And that’s okay.) ...
“Oh, but you’re an exception! When I say obese, I mean, like, you know– fat people.”
That’s nice– but that’s not what the BMI says. And the BMI is a mathematical formula, so there’s no arguing. Statistics that talk about the percentage of Americans (or whomever) that are overweight or obese include me. Not that it matters whether or not I am subjectively “fat,” being that “fat people” are, you know– people. And not so much The ObeseTM. But who needs “subjective” when you have a nice, “objective,” highly scientistic, evidentiarial-based formula derived from two important, health-related numbers: height and weight.
I know how she feels. I hover between size 14 and 18, most often wearing a 16. By BMI standards, I'm right on the edge of overweight and obese. According to the scientific calculations of my height and weight, I'm one of those people that needs to buy two airplane seats, that uses the money "people like us" - ie, regular, non-obese, HEALTHY people - pay in for health insurance, that wears only stretch pants and eats ice cream.
But you know what? I ran a 10k this weekend. I ran and ran and didn't stop, not until 6.2 miles after I started. I didn't think I was going to be able to run the whole way, but I made it to mile 4 and thought, "Why not? I'll just keep going until I feel I can't go anymore."
Do you want to know how many non-obese people I passed while running? Or how many people started out running but then walked? Or once I passed them, started running again because apparently size 16 people aren't supposed to pass skinny people?
By BMI standards, I am obese and not possibly healthy. In my real life, a life that's not judged by standards of height and weight but by my accomplishments, I ran 6.2 miles on Saturday. You would think a person has to be at least marginally healthy to finish a 10k.
These are my family members who ran/walked the race with me. From left to right: my mom's aunt, my mom's cousin, my uncle's girlfriend, my other uncle and his baby boy, my mom, and me. With the exception of my mom's aunt, we all ran the whole race. By BMI standards, my mom is at the upper end of the healthy weight while I'm obese.
Let me say this - slow and steady wins the race. Or at least finishes without stopping. And the BMI index doesn't have the last word on healthy.