Contra Mozilla

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fat Country

Bloomberg reports that a study in The Lancet has us as (statistically) among the fattest nations:

"About 2.1 billion people, or almost one-third of the world’s population, were obese or overweight last year, researchers estimated after examining data from 183 countries... The heaviest country was the U.S., accounting for about 13 percent of the world’s obese people."

By my math, that means that the, ahem, vast majority (~4/5) of Americans are obese. Of course, there's also a few sleights of hand here:

  • The 2.1 billion number is the number of people who are either obese or overweight
  • The 13% number is the American share of obese people
  • Buried further down in the Bloomberg article is the fact that of the 2.1 billion figure reported above, only 671 million are obese (and thus, 87 million or roughly 1 in 4 Americans are obese)

But wait, there's more! The device used to measure all of this is... the body mass index. Input your height and your weight, and this device will till you whether you are underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. Hint number one: all women who are beyond the second trimester will be marked as overweight or obese. Ditto for postpartum women (at least for the first few months). Yikes.

And if you happen to be big-boned or a heavily-muscled man, odds are that you're at least overweight. And, I notice that if I put in my height and weight from my junior year of high school--during which time I was still considered to be somewhat of a beanpole--I still end up in the "normal weight" category, albeit at the lower end of it.

But, of course, such studies are useful for banning large fountain drinks and pushing for "healthier" meals at school, both points found in favor of those who are rich and powerful. Therefor, they will continue to receive funding, and so the march of SCIENCE! continues.

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