One of the more controversial claims I made in Fat Head is that the obesity epidemic has been overblown — mostly by people with a vested interest, such as the CDC and the weight-loss industry.  (Unfortunately, between the government-industry revolving door and the consulting contracts offered to officials still in government, those are often the same people.)

A recent Gallup poll supports my claim.  I’m not suggesting (and didn’t suggest in Fat Head, despite what some reviewers think) that we don’t see more huge people walking around in public than we did 30 years ago.  Anyone with eyes knows a minority of the population has gotten very fat. 

But that’s a minority.  The statistics say the average American is only about 8 to 12 pounds heavier than a generation ago.  Let’s split the difference and call it 10 pounds — and remember, we’re also about 10 years older on average than we were in 1970.  As Dr. Eric Oliver pointed out in the film, when the Body Mass Index classifications of overweight and obese were adopted, they put millions of people right on the edge of being overweight.  It only took a few extra pounds to push those people into the “overweight” category … and then we gained those pounds.

The main thrust of the article about the Gallup poll is that while most Americans are overweight (using the BMI scale, anyway), fewer than half are currently trying to lose weight.  Well, duh … millions of people have tried the “eat less and move more” method promoted by doctors and nutritionists and failed.  It’s no wonder they’ve given up.

But what I found most interesting was the data on who’s “overweight” and by how much.  Here are the numbers:

More than 50 pounds overweight: 6%
21-50 pounds overweight: 17%
11-20 pounds overweight: 15%
1-10 pounds overweight: 24%
At ideal weight: 18%
1-10 pounds underweight: 7%
11-20 pounds underweight: 3%
More than 20 pounds underweight: 1%
Undesignated: 9%

We’re looking at BMI figures here, not a measurement of who’s actually fat and who isn’t.  As I’ve said many times, the BMI scale is ridiculous.  It labels almost anyone with decent muscles as overweight or obese.  Tim Tebow, the star quarterback of the Florida Gators, is a lean, mean, running machine.  He’s also 6’3″ and weighs 245, which puts his BMI at 30.6 — in other words, obese.  To be considered normal weight, he’d have to lose 45 pounds.  Short of amputating a leg, that’s not going to happen.

But of course, not many people are as muscular as Tim Tebow, so let’s take an example closer to home — me.  When I graduated from high school, I was 5’8″ and weighed 155 pounds, giving me a BMI of 23.6 … normal weight.  But I only had a 36-inch chest, not much in the way of muscles, a big belly and “boy boobs.”  When we played shirts vs. skins in gym-class competitions, I prayed to end up on the shirts team. 

Today I’m 5’11″ and weigh 195 pounds, giving me a BMI of 27.2 … overweight.  I also have a 44-inch chest, with much thicker arms and legs.  My belly is smaller and the boy boobs are gone.  But to be considered just barely at “normal” weight, I’d have to lose 20 pounds.  To reach my high-school BMI of 23.6, I’d have to lose 26 pounds.  That’s how screwy the BMI measurement is.

Not surprisingly, then, the Gallup poll found a “gap” between the number of people who are technically overweight and the number who consider themselves overweight.  No kidding.  If you tried to tell Tim Tebow he needs to lose 45 pounds, he’d probably hit you.  If you tried to tell me I should lose another 26 pounds, I’d probably ask Tim Tebow to hit you.

Let’s have a little fun with the Gallup numbers.  We’ve heard over and over that obesity is reaching epidemic proportions and 60% of all Americans are overweight.  Yup … if we accept that the BMI scale actually means something and we include people who are 10 pounds or less overweight, I guess that’s true.

But since the average weight gain since 1970 is about 10 pounds, let’s take everyone who’s considered overweight, put them on a low-carb diet, and knock off those pounds — after all, 10 pounds isn’t much.  Better yet, let’s decide the BMI categories are arbitrary (which they are) and simply spot people another 10 pounds before they’re considered overweight.

All of a sudden, POOF! … our epidemic isn’t quite so scary.  Instead of 62% of all American adults being overweight, we’re down to 38% — and we could even say that only 23% of all adults are more than 10 pounds overweight. 

According to the poll, the average American adult is 14 pounds over his or her ideal weight.  But keep in mind, that’s an average.  Six percent of American adults are 50 pounds or more overweight.  They’re not being offset in the numbers by people who are 50 pounds underweight. 

Take one guy who’s 50 pounds above the “normal” BMI and average him together with one man who’s 15 pounds overweight, three who are 10 pounds overweight, one who’s five pounds overweight, and one at the ideal weight, and you get an average of 14 pounds overweight.  But only two of the seven are above that average, and five of the seven are within 10 pounds of their supposedly ideal weight. 

There are probably a lot of numbers like these involved in that “gap” that had the Gallup people so surprised.  People who are within 10 pounds of their supposedly ideal weight (a quarter of the population) can be forgiven for answering that their weight is “about right.”

That’s what you’re actually seeing when hysterical members of the media show you those state-by-state charts, with the overweight and obesity numbers growing like a runaway cancer:  the statistical outcome of 10 extra pounds on average since 1970 … which for many people were the result of gym memberships and weight machines.  Not many people lifted weights in 1970.  Now even my naturally-thin wife does.

A different Gallup poll underscores another point I made in the film:  there is a genuine epidemic out there, and it’s called diabetes.  More than 11% percent of Americans adults have diabetes now, and more than 90% of those have type 2 diabetes, which is mostly preventable.  The rate has more than doubled in the last decade alone.  Among senior citizens, the numbers are even more harrowing: nearly one-quarter have diabetes.  Just think of all the physical damage that’s causing.  And even those numbers don’t count the pre-diabetics.

Since high blood sugar can lead to both weight gain and diabetes, we’re actually seeing two sides of the same coin.  But the real problem is the diabetes, not the extra 10 pounds, or even the extra 20 or 30 pounds many people have gained.  In my family, there are two type 2 diabetics who are lean and look great in their clothes.  No one told warned them about the dangers of high blood sugar, and since they were lean, they assumed their diets were just fine — after all, they ate lots of those energy-giving carbohydrates and not too much of that icky fat.

The constant drumbeat about the obesity epidemic and the emphasis on losing weight is sending the wrong message.  We need to tell people to get their blood sugar checked and keep it under control with the proper diet.  If we do that, the 10 pounds will take care of itself.  And if it doesn’t, well … so what?  A bit of belly won’t kill you if it’s not the result of high blood sugar.

p.s. – We’re leaving for grandma’s house on Wednesday.  It’s not likely I’ll post on Thursday, but I’ll check comments when I can.  Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

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31 Responses to “The Obesity Epidemic … And The Real Epidemic”
  1. Glen says:

    “…millions of people have tried the “eat less and move more” method promoted by doctors and nutritionists and failed…”

    Check this out:

    http://comfort-eaters-diet.blogspot.com/2009/11/some-stats.html

    I’d like to see people promoting the “eating less” message try and justify their position in the face of those figures.

    Interesting stats. It’s not the fat that’s doing it.

  2. Kate says:

    Hi Tom,
    You’re absolutely right. Go any place with crowds and yes, there are a few very very fat people, and yes, that was a rare sight when I was a nipper. But most people are well within a ‘normal’ range. I wonder if our perceptions of what normal is haven’t changed too, over the decades, because of publicity given to extremely thin celebrities?
    I know the BMI doesn’t mean much, but mine is 23.4 and I workout with weights and so must have some muscle mass in there, and I was told the other day in a clothing shop that I was fat! Which does make me wonder about what people actually regard as normal.

    I think there’s also a bit of the “Red Toyota” phenomenon going on. You decide to a buy a red Toyota, so it’s on your mind, and suddenly you notice them everywhere. There’s been so much talk about an obesity epidemic, we notice the fat people more. In the 1970s, when my parents were in their 40s, they had some fat friends, and my dad at least had a belly.

  3. TriSSSe says:

    I heard a lot of people saying that the BMI is ridiculous. They pretty much give the same reasons you do. Yes it has weaknesses, but whats the alternative? I thought about it too and I think BMI is OK – not perfect, but ok.

    The alternative is to stop pretending it means anything. BMI surveys produce lots of sky-is-falling articles, but little useful information.

    If the NIH and CDC want to track numbers, instead of using mass phone surveys that strictly ask height and weight, they should accept reality and deal with a smaller sample size of people who are actually measured for body fat.

  4. Rachel says:

    In the book “Waistland: The (R)Evolutionary Crisis Behind Our Weight and Fitness Crisis” Deirdre Barrett rips apart the BMI charts! It’s a great book, but she doesn’t come down nearly hard enough on aspartame and is all wacky about fats. I still use her book as a reference, but balance her nutritional recommendations with Fallon and Gedgaudas.

  5. Nicole says:

    Uh, isn’t that Gallup poll entirely based on self-reporting? Most people are in denial about their weight and many adults don’t really know what they weigh.

    Yes. But that’s one reason the NIH adopted the BMI scale; you can keep track of the numbers through phone surveys. Same type of reporting mechanism has been used for decades, so whatever flaws exist in it now also existed 10 and 20 years ago.

  6. Michael Epstein says:

    Why discuss getting back to the BMI you were previously at if you’re no longer that height! I didn’t realize you liked to eat red herrings ;) ! As for people who consider themselves overweight, are we including anorexics and bulimics? I’ve met more than a few smokers who didn’t consider themselves addicted… but I wasn’t really willing to consider their take on the matter as a strong indicator in the matter. Just because someone is comfortable with their weight (fat, average, or under), I can see no absolute correlation to healthy with no further data. I’m not addressing your conclusions… but I think you need to tighten the logic, or better explain your reasoning for your examples.

    BMI is a ratio of height to weight and is considered (stupidly) by our government as an measure of obesity. The point is, in high school I was fat and out of shape, but just fine according to the BMI scale. Today I’m fitter, more muscular and less fat, but now I’m overweight according to the BMI scale, and would have to lose 26 pounds to have the “normal” BMI I had in high school. Thus, the BMI scale is nearly meaningless.

  7. David says:

    I frequently encounter your last point. People tell me, “Oh, you lost weight and got your diabetes under control.” I tell them, “No, I got my blood sugars under control and then the weight came off.”

    Have a great Thanksgiving.

    Enjoy yours as well.

  8. Dan says:

    I don’t see that many really fat people either. I see more toothpicks & bone racks than I do fat people. It all depends on where you draw the line as to what’s “overweight.”

    BMI is just technobabble for the old height-weight tables. If I got down to a “normal” BMI, I’d be nothing but skin & bones.

    Same here. I’d have to lose muscle to drop another 26 pounds.

  9. nonegiven says:

    In the late 90′s, didn’t they change the BMI scale? It used to be that a BMI of 27 was normal weight, so a number of people became overweight over night without gaining anything except a label.

    The NIH adopted the BMI definitions in 1998, which classified more people as overweight than their previous definitions.

    http://edition.cnn.com/HEALTH/9806/17/weight.guidelines/

  10. Mal says:

    i dunno know about yall but i live in mississippi and everyone is overweight, and im not joking with that. everyone has diabetes, everyone abuses the system, and everyone is on statins or diabetes medicine. they all give in to the low fat propaganda, count calories etc etc and i am watching them expand before my own eyes. down here i either see someone VERY skinny from drugs or they are VERY BIG

    When we drove through the South, we noticed that in certain areas — southern Arkansas for one — there were a LOT of fat people. Too much sweet tea, maybe.

  11. Tracee says:

    In my neck of the woods, rural west Texas, most of the folks are HUGE, many, including the females could stand to lose 75 to 100 pounds. So it’s hard from my personal experience to relate to the first half of your article. It would be interesting to see a study of rural versus urban obesity. I couldn’t agree more about the diabetes. Sugar is the main diet staple here, and becasue it’s so addictive I don’t see it reducing. Once people are hooked getting them to give it up just isn’t going to work most of the time. I see lots of people giving their toddlers Nerds and sodas. School serve glazed donuts and white bread. I don’t see it changing here, at least not in my lifetime. I know several people, in my town of 1600 people, completely disabled in their 50′s due to diabetes. I know several in their 40′s that are almost there. I’ve seen so many trying to loose weight by eating puffed rice cakes, etc. I get funny looks for letting my child eat butter and bacon. I’m considered the village idiot.

    That’s what we noticed while driving across the country: in some regions, it seems like EVERYONE is fat. Then we arrive here in Franklin and hardly anyone is fat. When looking up demographics on for the area before moving here, I even found the average BMI for this county: 25. Since one seriously heavy person can drag up the average for several others, that means very, very few people in this county would be considered obese using the BMI.

    I had lunch at the food court in our local mall last week, and happened to be sitting there reading when the local high school let out and the food court was swamped with a hundred or more teenagers. I saw maybe two or three who looked overweight, and nobody who looked obese.

  12. Tracee says:

    Come and spend a day with my husband in his little rural store and you can see it for yourself.

  13. Matt Stone says:

    Amen Tom. Waist circumference or % body fat would be much better indicators. There also should be different BMI scales for men and women, as men have a higher percentage of lean body mass than women. A BMI of 26.4 for men (me), is about the equivalent of a woman at 22-23.

    Plus, being in the slightly over 25 category is considered healthier, with better longevity statistics than being on the lower end of that spectrum.

    Gina Kolata’s Rethinking Thin is a good read to complement Fat Head’s stance on this issue.

    I challenge anyone to find a male in Weston A. Price’s Nutrition and Physical Degeneration with a BMI of less than 25.

    I’ve got that book. Now I have to go look up some pictures.

  14. Beth says:

    Great post!! BTW, re your comment on a comment about measuring body fat versus BMI, even that’s a problematic measure since the type of fat (visceral versus subcutaneous) matters when it comes to disease.

    But yeah, I’m with you and Keith Devlin of NPR: the BMI really is bogus!

    See http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106268439

    Good article. Nice to NPR get it right.

  15. Mal says:

    yeah theres no denying that places and especially the south have a HUGE weight problem and diabetes epidemic… MS is horrible,but so is louisiana, alabama and a few others. im originally from Maryland so 3 years ago when i moved to the south it was a whole new world. everyone goes to the doc for everything, everyone deep frys everything in vegetable oil, life revolves around food here and it shows. whteher they are “starving” on abusing the food stamp system or simply gluttonous they all FOR THE MOST PART live to eat. kids have soda and poptarts or donuts for breakfast, and fast food for dinner. i always thought the south as “southern hospitality” for cooking their own food…but it seems like people eat out for 90% of their meals.

    It even varies wildly here in Tennessee. This county has an average BMI of 25, according to some demographics I checked, and I don’t see many fat people walking around. But overall, Tennessee ranks pretty high on the obesity scale, so it’s obviously a different story in other parts of the state.

  16. Derrick says:

    I can’t agree with you on this one.

    Every time I go to the mall, I am amazed at how many fat and overweight people there are. They are everywhere and the normal people are the minority. This is especially true with youngsters. Little fatties abound. We are getting fatter, and grossly so.

    BMI is a crappy “tool” and should be discarded, I agree. But if we were magically able to accurately measure the BF% of the population, the results wouldn’t be pretty.

    If anything, I think most tend to under-estimate how fat they really are. Even people who look “OK” with clothes on can be 20 pounds overweight or more.

    It obviously varies quite a bit from region to region. When I went chasing people around with my camera in Burbank and Hollywood, it took a loooooong time to find a lot of really big bodies. I even ran out for a third shoot because I didn’t have enough fat-people footage to cover the opening sequences.

    In southern Arkansas, I could’ve just put the camera on a tripod, let it run for 10 minutes, and had all the big-bodies footage I needed. People who WEREN’T fat were in the minority.

    When I’m out in public here in Franklin, there are even fewer big bodies than in Burbank. It looks like a scene from the 1950s.

  17. Allen S says:

    I agree that BMI is a joke. I’m 5’11″ and 180lbs. I have a BMI of 25 (overweight) yet with a body fat of 10%. I also think that middle-age folks in America have been overweight for 100 years. However, the thing that scares me are the young folks. I was looking back at my 35 year old high school year book this summer and found the 3 fat kids in our class of 400. All of the other kids were either thin or downright scrawny. I then looked at my nieces 2009 yearbook and saw 3 obese kids on every page. Many of the other kids looked overweight with maybe 3 scrawny kids in the whole year book. I don’t know what their BMI’s were, but I know fat when I see it. If we don’t have an epidemic yet, I fear we will soon.

    That’s the real worry, in my book. Not so much that the kids are fat, but that they’re developing diabetes along with it. It’s shameful to have all these teens and pre-teens developing diabetes.

  18. Dave, RN says:

    I’ve got to echo some of the others. I live in Texas and all yo have to do is take a trip to your local Wal-Mart and you’ll think that gross obesity is the norm.
    We hosted some exchange students last year from Korea and Africa. We asked them what they first noticed when they came to America. Know what they said? “The size of the people” and they weren’t talking about how tall. As they spoke they made circles with their arms to illustrate what their broken English was trying to convey.
    I think that in terms of “noticing” obesity, it’s hard to sometimes. If you wear your pants down far enough, and leave your t-shirt un-tucked, or very loosely tucked, you can’t see the “dunlops disease” (where the belly’s “dun lopped” over the belt…

    There’s definitely something going on in terms of various regions. Years ago, before all the talk of an obesity epidemic, I lived in Chicago and didn’t see a lot of fat people walking around. But whenever I drove 200 miles south to visit my parents, I noticed the people were heavier.

  19. Frank Hagan says:

    I blogged about two recent research papers that showed being in the “overweight” BMI category was healthier … 17% decreased chance of death when in the “overweight” category rather than in the “normal” category. Even being “obese” was about the same as “normal” when you are looking at all-cause mortality. You have a 73% greater chance of dying if you are underweight … quick everyone, break out the eggs and bacon!

    I started looking into it when I noticed all the “fat” old people, and I asked one what happened to all his healthy, skinny friends. “They all died,” was his response.

    Yup, I came across lots of similar data while working on the film. I think being a bit heavier — more muscle, more fat perhaps — increases the odds of surviving cancer. Interestingly, people with high cholesterol are less likely to die from cancer as well.

  20. Caitlin says:

    I often do “eyeball surveys” when out in public and it’s feasible to count people and do a quick percentage. I would not hesitate to say that greater than 45-55% of my survey subjects here in Clarksville (up the road from you) are at least overweight by the eyeball standard, and that’s being conservative. I haven’t even bothered trying to quantify the “obese” part of that cohort. Of course that’s subjective, but it’s like pornography; you know it when you see it. I’d venture a guess that Franklin is a bit higher on the socioeconomic scale than we are and it makes a difference. Agreed, BMI is a buncha hooey though.

    Yes, Williamson county is the most well-to-do in the state. Lots of corporate, legal, and music-industry types here.

  21. Brian says:

    What’s with all this math and all these numbers? I thought you were a comedian. You’re not supposed to know numbers like that. On a related note, the probability a late 40-ish male weighing ~250 is not overfat is low, regardless of what the silly BMI scale says. T-day is what we call it. Have a good one.

    I’d say most 40-somethings who weigh 250 pounds are fat. Now if we’re talking about 190 pounds, it depends.

    The math and numbers come in handy for my programming work.

  22. Jesrad says:

    I just saw this and felt like sharing… Can you believe that: barring obese students from graduating college solely for not enrolling in a “health class” ? This is wrong on so many levels I want to scream.

    I’m with you. We won’t let you graduate until you take a class and learn the bogus advice we’ve been giving out for three decades. It’s nonsense.

  23. Mark says:

    I currently weight 177lbs, i’m 5’9 and if I must say so myself my arms are pretty big for a guy my size. I’ve been working out at a gym regularly to gain muscle mass and keep my cardio up since I play soccer on 2 different teams. The only problem – the BMI classifies me as being overweight.

    I recently joined a new gym and had to take my mandatory “fitness test” which was comprised of taking my shoes off, standing on a scale and an employee reading off my weight and BMI score. She told me I was “out of shape” and needed to lose “a few pounds”. I giggled thinking she was joking but she was dead serious. I packed up my stuff and cancelled my membership immediately. It’s unfortunate that people who are untrained only have false information to go by. Could you imagine all the bodybuilders in that gym being told they are obese?

    Sounds like she’s been properly brainwashed.

  24. SD says:

    Ok, I’m pre-diabetic and believe low carb is what I need to be doing. I’m an apple-shaped woman. Need to lose 15-20 lbs. But I’m getting confused with the statistic that overweight people live longest. Then there are the frightfully skinny people who keep calories really low, and THEY supposedly will live longer. Can you see why I’m confused? Help! Love your blog.

    It is confusing. People with the “normal” BMI tend to be skinny and don’t seem (statistically) as likely to survive cancer. Lots of skinny people also have high blood sugar, by the way.

    Take someone like me, I’m 20 pounds “overweight,” but have normal blood sugar, pulse, blood pressure, etc. If I somehow developed cancer, I’d have strength to fight it.

    The calorie-restriction connection to longevity is turning out to probably be a matter of keeping insulin down.

    Bottom line: get your blood sugar normalized, keep your insulin in check, and let your weight fall where it may.

  25. Kate says:

    Around here, lots of people show up as overweight on the “eyeball test”. What concerns me more than people being fat is how old a lot of them look. I don’t know if that’s a function of rural vs. urban living or diet. But people around here tend to look older than they are. If people are looking old and tired on the outside, what do their insides, all the way down to their cell parts look like?

    Another bit of evidence that I’ll put forward on the side of “people are heavier” argument is the clothing at WalMart. What is more Average Jane than Walmart? In the Misses section, the smallest pair of jeans is a size 6. To put this in perspective, a size 8 has a 29-30″ waist, so a 6 is for 27-28″ waist. The jeans go up in size to an 18 or 20. There’s also been some size inflation over time. The last time I weighed this much, I was a bigger size than I am now, and the sizes went down to a 2 or 4. What I don’t know is if my waist was the same size at this weight before or not.

    The last time I checked, I was around 27% bodyfat, and now I can find clothing on the sales racks at Penney’s. Basically, the larger sizes are all sold out, and the smaller stuff ends up on super clearance.

    Based on this completely non controlled nor scientific survey of retail sizing, I conclude that people are bigger than they used to be, at least in this area.

    We just returned from a Thanksgiving trip to Illinois. They’re bigger in my old hometown than they used to be as well. Strange thing is, we stopped at a Wendy’s about 1 1/2 hours south on the drive home, and hardly anyone in the place was noticeably overweight.

  26. SD says:

    As you mentioned above, insulin and blood sugar are probably the issues, rather than weight.

    In other words, I should be more concerned about eating low carb to keep blood sugar and insulin down vs. worrying about my actual weight.

    And I do know that skinny doesn’t mean healthy.

    So pre-diabetic apples like me have to stick close to low carb, whereas people with normal metabolism can be looser about diet to achieve the same goal-normal blood sugar and low insulin levels.

    That’s exactly right. Some people can tolerate a lot of carbs without becoming overweight or insulin resistant. Others aren’t so lucky.

  27. Tibby says:

    I agree. I work out and maintain, and it’s been shown that muscle mass outweighs fat by a long shot. So the more fat a person loses and the more muscle they build it’s going to increase their body mass. If you go and google most athletes basketball. football men and women they don’t meet the direct measures the BMI scale indicates. Also the BMI WAS NOT created by a medical doctor it was created by a mathemetician who just basically used math to determine one’s health. There wasn’t any real medical studies incorporated into that at all. There are also alot of doctors that have even admitted that the BMI system is bogus.

    There are people who are heathy that are slightly abgove their BMI requirement but when they visit their local hospital the doctors immediately assume they’re not eating healthy and need to lose weight. That’s really unfair.

    I live in South and I know I might south silly to some, but I DO NOT see as many overweight people as I did in the past. Also there has been studies under radar studies because you know the health industry wouldn’tdare let those studies get out. But there has been studies that showed Americans have not gotten any fatter, the numbers amongst overweight children have gradually stayed the same. So there’s no definite “Obesity Epidemic”.

    It’s a scare tactic to increase the profit of the diet and weightloss industry by the CDC. They all teamed with the health care industry in order to push this agenda as well as big money hospitals.

    It’s not so much weight that’s causing health problems it’s the stuff going on inside that’s causing ruckus. The lack of exercise and the lack of vitamin enriched foods will cause your body to malfunction and weaken. Your immune system needs it’s natural vitamin which fruits and veggies provide naturally. The more healthy your immune system is the more the ability of it fighting illness increases.

    Instead of promoting “Small is good, normal is bad or a little bigger is bad” if they want to profit from this “Obesity Epidemic” agenda then they need to start promoting “solely” healthy habits and exercise instead “You must weight exactly this much to be considered healthy”. That’s why Americans rebel and revert back to bad habits because they feel no matter how hard they work out and eat correctly they’re still somehow someway overweight.

    It’s ridiculous, whereas unhealthy underweight people are not mentioned in the health discussion at all, there is a bias.

    Yup. The real epidemic is high blood sugar, which makes many people (but not all) gain weight.

  28. Bonnie says:

    Something is going on although calling it an ‘epidemic’ makes me LOL. People are bigger these days – and not just fatter.

    In terms of clothes the change has been quick and dramatic. In 2001 at age 14 I was a size 0 or 2 in regular stores (Gap, etc). Now I am in the new size ’00′ (soon to be -1?) in the straight stores that carry it – not many. ‘Size 0′ Gap jeans gape so much at the waistband I can’t wear them, even with a belt. And I’ve gone from a size 14 in girls clothes as a teenager to a size 12 now as a grown-ass woman. Unfortunately I am too tall and my arms and legs are too long for most kids clothes.

    During this time I’ve always had 33-34″ hips – I know because I’ve measured myself often hoping for weight gain, heh. Still haven’t gone up more than 5 lbs, with high calorie, high carb, or low carb – guess I am just your typical hardgainer. I would love to grow some curves some day.

    I think we’re bigger in a lot of ways. High-school football players are bigger and more muscular than they were in my day. College players now look like the pros from the 1950s. I’ve seen photos of WWII recruits in boot camp, exercising with no shirts on, and yes, there’s hardly a fat guy among them — but most of them are downright skinny by today’s standards. By contrast, when my son was in boot camp, many of his classmates were beefy, but not fat.

  29. Caramoan8 says:

    The only way you can manage obesity is throught Proper Diet and lots of exercise. The human body is designed for work so we should always get some form of physical exercise to stay fit.
    `

  30. hope says:

    BMI and the body fat% is ridiculous. At two separate times I was considered overweight or obese….

    I am 5’6″

    at 110lbs I decided to get my Body Fat measured. And guess what? I was in the Obese category!!!
    [my body fat % was high because I had virtually no muscle tone, but I was thin as a rail]

    then a few years later after putting on 20lbs of muscle, I was considered obese by BMI and I was in the best shape I had ever been in.

  31. more people are becoming obese these days because of too much junk food and too much sugar in snacks and fast foods. `

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