Is "FAT" the new "NORMAL"?
So this week a health website posted this chart to Facebook, and the backlash was OBESE (diet practitioner humor). There were hundreds of comments from people extremely offended, and stating that even though they were considered "obese" according to this .chart, they in fact felt "normal". The actual BMI (Body Mass Index) chart doesn't look like this, it's a RANGE, anywhere between 20-40 lbs per height. What this means is that 2 different people could be 5'10" but one might weigh 130 lbs and the other 165 lbs and both still be considered "normal" weight. That's a 35 lbs difference, 15.9 kg! That's a HUGE difference! So, no, I don't believe that BMI charts are "unrealistic". I believe it leaves room for A LOT of variance. This chart up top is just an estimate, about somewhere in the middle, and therefore the author decided to call it "ideal". Sure, why not?
I have mentioned in a previous post that BMI, in my opinion, is pretty accurate UNLESS you are an athlete and your body muscle mass proportion is above normal (consequently, your body fat percentage would be below normal). That's pretty easy to see, I mean...if Lebron James walks into your medical office you're not gonna measure him according to this chart, but most other people? Ya, I think you should.
The comments on this Facebook post were things like (besides the ones I mentioned above) "If I weighed 120 lbs, I would look anorexic". "I don't ever want to weight 118 lbs". Oh boy. And so on and so forth. So, we have somehow come full 180. I hear older doctors that lecture say that when they were in school, back say 50 years ago, there was one lone "fat" kid in their class. Now, we have a whole bunch of fat kids, and a couple of obese kids in most classrooms. Problem is, the kids' parents are also overweight, their teacher is overweight, their neighbours are overweight, the clerk at the counter is overweight, their doctor is overweight...you get the point. So what's the problem, you might think. The problem is that this has become "normal". People are confusing "common" with "normal". Just because something is common, it doesn't make it normal. People own a lot of guns in the States, it is very COMMON, but it isn't NORMAL! It might sound awesome in this day in age to teach our young kids to "love their bodies and themselves". We tell them that being model-thin is not right, and that's good, that's GREAT, in fact. Being BELOW the BMI is not good, and it's UNHEALTHY. But being above the BMI is also not good and UNHEALTHY (a slight bit either way is no big deal). But THIS is what we are NOT telling our kids. We (the grown-ups) are the ones complaining on this website, instead of reflecting on what has gone wrong, so very very wrong.
These same people that are complaining that they are "normal" at whatever their BMI is, are the people with Diabetes, Hypertension, Arthritis...and I know this for a fact, I know some of these people. The normal tendency is for weight to increase as we age, if for no other reason, our metabolism normally gets slower. Even if you don't increase the amount of food you eat as you age (which most people do, up until a certain point), you burn less calories. My concern here is that these people are not seeing why this is an issue and why this chart is so important for them specifically. This chart is not supposed to be offensive, it is a RED FLAG. But, instead of being encouraged by their family, teachers, doctors and friends to lose weight and live a long, healthy and happy life, they are being "told" by everyone around them that they are "normal".
I don't need to tell you that obesity is one of the major risk factors for every major health concern. I think people know this. Their problem is the word itself. "Being Obese" is "offensive" and nobody wants to be classified as that. Society has shifted the range of overweight to mean "normal" and obese to mean "overweight". Instead of focusing on the issue, we are medicating more and more people as opposed to putting them on a "diet", which costs next to nothing and has no side effects. At some point this politically-correctness is going to have to give way to health prevention.