From The News …

      96 Comments on From The News …

Interesting items from my inbox …

Beer on toast

Ever have a bad day at work and wish you could just sit at your desk and get @#$%-faced?  Hey, we all have, but most bosses frown upon drinking on the job. Well, here’s a possible solution:

Italian foodies have invented a way for beer lovers to enjoy their favourite drink for breakfast – without the risk of being forced to attend those troublesome Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Chocolatier Napoleone and brewery Alta Quota, both based in the central Italian province of Rieti, have joined forces to create the world’s first spreadable beer, which they’ve called Birra Spalmabile.

Is that Italian for Beer Spam?

The ale-flavoured, jelly-like substance comes in two flavours, using either Omid dark ale or Greta blonde ale. According to Italy Magazine, “one is delicate, while the other has a more intense aroma and stronger taste”.

There you go.  Make yourself some beer sandwiches and cop a buzz at work while appearing to enjoy an afternoon snack.  Then go to a meeting and tell your co-workers what you really think of them and their ideas.

I can’t help but wonder, though:  what do people who get drunk on beer sandwiches eat when they get the munchies?  More beer sandwiches?  That could create a never-ending cycle.

Dear parents:  your kids are fat

Thank goodness the nation’s schools aren’t sticking to just teaching kids how to read, write and do math.  Nope, now they’re also helping out by getting into the business of warning parents that their kids might be overweight.

Lily Grasso, 11, is on the school volleyball team and eats healthy foods. So she was stunned when Florida health officials sent a letter suggesting she’s fat.

“This whole thing is stupid,” Lily, of Naples, Fla., told ABC News. “It can hurt people. It can break their courage.”

“First I was hurt, and then I was angry, and then I just was concerned,” said Lily’s mother, Kristen Grasso.

The so-called “Fat Letter” is the result of a body mass index, or BMI, screening administered by officials at Lily’s school.

If you click the link to the article, you can see a picture of Lily.  That is not a fat girl, no matter what the BMI charts say.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it at least twice:  the BMI is a stupid method for determining who’s fat and who isn’t.  Sara shot some video when I was moving our chicken coop last weekend.  That’s a screen-cap below.  The next day, I weighed myself at the gym before my workout.  I was at exactly 200 pounds.

Since I’m 5’11” that puts my BMI at 27.9 – “overweight” and just 15 pounds from being labeled as obese.  (I’d best stop working out before I accidentally gain more muscle mass.)  To get my BMI down to 24 – the high end of  the “normal” range – I’d have to lose 28 pounds.  To get my BMI down to 22.5 – the middle of the “normal” range – I’d have to lose 39 pounds.  I have a bit of residual softness around the middle, but I seriously doubt anyone looks at me and thinks, “Boy, that guy really needs to drop 30 pounds.”

Schools should get out of the fat-warning business for all kinds of reasons, including one mentioned in the article:

“I would like to see BMI testing in schools banned,” said Claire Mysko of the National Eating Disorders Association. “For those who are already insecure about their weight, these tests can … potentially trigger an eating disorder.”

Bingo.  The last thing an athletic “overweight” girl needs is to have her school label her as fat.  Put kids on a good diet (as opposed to the garbage the USDA tells the schools to serve) and let them grow into their natural weights.

Home-schooled kids

Instead of warning parents that their kids are fat, perhaps the schools should just send the kids home until they lose some weight, since home-schooled kids are leaner:

The results of a recent study show kids that are home-schooled are leaner than kids attending traditional schools. The results challenge the theory that children spending more time at home may be at risk for excessive weight gain.

I didn’t know there was such a theory.

The study was published in the journal Obesity and conducted by researchers from University of Colorado’s Anschutz Health and Wellness Center (AHWC) and University of Alabama at Birmingham. It looked at both home-schooled and traditionally-schooled children between the ages of seven and 12 in Birmingham. Participants and their parents reported diet, the kids’ physical activity was monitored and they were measured for body fat, among other things.

“Based on previous research, we went into this study thinking home-schooled children would be heavier and less active than kids attending traditional schools,” said Michelle Cardel, PhD, RD, the study’s lead author. “We found the opposite.”

Once again, I don’t know why the researchers expected home-schooled kids to be heavier and less active.

The results show that home-schoolers were less likely to be obese than the traditionally-schooled kids, even though kids in both groups were getting the same amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity. The calorie intakes were also similar, except at lunchtime. Kids in traditional schools were consuming significantly more calories, sodium, and sugar at lunch. New school guidelines aimed at more nutritious lunches had not yet taken effect when the study data was collected from 2005 to 2009.

Yeah, those new school-lunch guidelines are going to do a world of good.

It would be easy to say the home-schooled kids are leaner because they’re not eating school lunches, but I don’t think that’s the relevant factor here.  As with many other observational studies, I think we’re just seeing the effects of comparing different kinds of people.  I have a friend whose wife home-schools their kids.  Why?  Because they’re not satisfied with their local school district and they are very involved, responsible, dedicated parents.

Dr. Mike Eades has written about what he calls “adherers vs. non-adherers” and what I call “conscientious people vs. people who don’t give a @#$%.”  In all kinds of studies, including randomized clinical trials, the adherers have better health outcomes.  Even those who dutifully take their placebos in a double-blind study have better outcomes than those who forget to take their placebos.  It’s clearly not the placebo that makes the difference in that case.  It’s the personality type.  Conscientious people tend to take better care of themselves and be healthier overall.

Since home-schooling kids is a lot of work, I suspect parents who choose to take on that responsibility are more likely to be adherers than non-adherers … and the same likely goes for their kids, whether because of genetics, upbringing, or a combination of the two.

I’m not saying school lunches don’t suck, of course.  They do.

Bacon and babies

Speaking of genetics and kids, I found this interesting:  according to a new study reported in The U.K. Daily Mail, men who consume a rasher of bacon per day don’t produce as much ‘normal’ shaped sperm.

Men who eat just one rasher of bacon a day could be reducing their chances of becoming fathers.  Half a portion of processed meat such as a rasher or a small sausage can significantly harm sperm quality, scientists believe.

In a study to be presented this week at a meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Boston, Harvard University researchers compared the eating habits of 156 men undergoing IVF treatment with their partners.

They were each questioned how often they ate a range of foods including processed meat, white meat, red meat, white fish and tuna or salmon. Men who consumed just half a portion of processed meat a day had just 5.5 per cent ‘normal’ shaped sperm cells, compared to 7.2 per cent of those who ate less.

I would write it off as yet another lousy observational study, but perhaps there’s something to this one.  How else can I explain this?

Sorry girls … if I’d had any idea, I would have cut back on the bacon before you were conceived.

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96 thoughts on “From The News …

  1. Janknitz

    I used to get those letters about BMI from my daughter’s school all the time, predicting doom if I didnt feed her a “healthy diet if whole grains and low fat. But in her case it was because her BMI was too low. She’s always been small–in the 5th percentile for height and weight (short genes!), and a serious ballet dancer. She is not underweight either–her weight is perfectly proportioned for her height and a lot of muscle in her dancer’s body. I just threw the letters away, but her PE fitness test scores were always skewed because her BMI was out of range.

    Insanity. We’ve got lord-knows-how-many schools that aren’t even competent at educating, and now we’re putting them in charge of monitoring kids’ BMIs.

    Reply
  2. Tanny O'Haley

    Years ago, someone said that according to the laws of aerodynamics bumblebees cannot fly. But the bumblebees, not knowing the laws of aerodynamics, go ahead and fly anyway.

    The reason they thought home schooled children would be fatter than public schooled children is because of bias and the environment of no opposition to their thoughts among their associates. It just like the Yale scientist who thought that members of the TEA Party would be less knowledgeable about science. In both cases, to their astonishment they were wrong.

    Reminds me of a classic case of selection bias/media bias: a left-leaning friend of mine gleefully sent me a link to an article about a study showing that people who get most of their news from watching Fox News know less about world affairs than people who get their news from “other sources.” So I went and found the study. They surveyed a small number of people in one area of New Jersey and asked exactly eight questions about world affairs. Among the choices for “where do you get most of your news?” were major newspapers, Fox News and CNN.

    In the results of section of the paper, data for CNN magically disappeared. No mention whatsoever of how the CNN-watching people did. So they essentially ended up with a comparison of people who read newspapers vs. people who watch TV — not surprisingly, the newspaper readers knew more about world affairs. Duh. Newspapers are much more thorough. An entire TV newscast written out would fit onto a couple of newspaper pages.

    Anyway, I found it VERY suspicious that they chose not to report the survey results for people who get most of their news from CNN … kind of like when researchers don’t bother to report overall mortality statistics for a drug that prevents, say, one heart attack among 100 people who take the drug. If the CNN-watchers had done well on the survey, I’m sure they have reported as much.

    So the researchers cherry-picked which data to report, and the left-leaning media outlets reporting on the study didn’t bother to dig into the study and notice as much. The study confirmed what they want to believe, so they ran with it. My liberal friend, of course, didn’t grasp my explanation of the bias. That would have required a logical mind.

    Reply
  3. Nads

    And I’ve heard the teachers are now telling parents their kids need to be medicated.

    There’s that too.

    Reply
  4. Janknitz

    I used to get those letters about BMI from my daughter’s school all the time, predicting doom if I didnt feed her a “healthy diet if whole grains and low fat. But in her case it was because her BMI was too low. She’s always been small–in the 5th percentile for height and weight (short genes!), and a serious ballet dancer. She is not underweight either–her weight is perfectly proportioned for her height and a lot of muscle in her dancer’s body. I just threw the letters away, but her PE fitness test scores were always skewed because her BMI was out of range.

    Insanity. We’ve got lord-knows-how-many schools that aren’t even competent at educating, and now we’re putting them in charge of monitoring kids’ BMIs.

    Reply
  5. Tanny O'Haley

    Years ago, someone said that according to the laws of aerodynamics bumblebees cannot fly. But the bumblebees, not knowing the laws of aerodynamics, go ahead and fly anyway.

    The reason they thought home schooled children would be fatter than public schooled children is because of bias and the environment of no opposition to their thoughts among their associates. It just like the Yale scientist who thought that members of the TEA Party would be less knowledgeable about science. In both cases, to their astonishment they were wrong.

    Reminds me of a classic case of selection bias/media bias: a left-leaning friend of mine gleefully sent me a link to an article about a study showing that people who get most of their news from watching Fox News know less about world affairs than people who get their news from “other sources.” So I went and found the study. They surveyed a small number of people in one area of New Jersey and asked exactly eight questions about world affairs. Among the choices for “where do you get most of your news?” were major newspapers, Fox News and CNN.

    In the results of section of the paper, data for CNN magically disappeared. No mention whatsoever of how the CNN-watching people did. So they essentially ended up with a comparison of people who read newspapers vs. people who watch TV — not surprisingly, the newspaper readers knew more about world affairs. Duh. Newspapers are much more thorough. An entire TV newscast written out would fit onto a couple of newspaper pages.

    Anyway, I found it VERY suspicious that they chose not to report the survey results for people who get most of their news from CNN … kind of like when researchers don’t bother to report overall mortality statistics for a drug that prevents, say, one heart attack among 100 people who take the drug. If the CNN-watchers had done well on the survey, I’m sure they have reported as much.

    So the researchers cherry-picked which data to report, and the left-leaning media outlets reporting on the study didn’t bother to dig into the study and notice as much. The study confirmed what they want to believe, so they ran with it. My liberal friend, of course, didn’t grasp my explanation of the bias. That would have required a logical mind.

    Reply
  6. Cary L

    As a teacher I’m extremely fortunate to work in a school district that refuses to use the BMI index as a measure of health (and that lets me show “Fat Head” to my Sociology students as part of a unit on social responsibility in the media). With all of the “shame on you” messages our children are already receiving through advertising and social media, the last thing our schools should be doing is jumping on the bandwagon and adding more damage to the self-esteem of today’s youth.

    Now if we can only get beer sandwiches added to the school lunch menu …

    I believe all you’ll need to do is point out that beer sandwiches include grain products and are low-fat.

    Reply
    1. Walter Bushell

      RE TOM’s reply.

      A modest proposal — Include beer in school lunches. Perhaps Mary Jane could be included in the desserts to mellow the kids out.

      Not only that beer has no added sugar. Actually good unfiltered beer (to give the kiddies (and teachers) more B vitamins from the yeast) would doubtless improve school lunches. I remember them from the 1950s and I have substantial reason to believe they are much worse now.

      What could possibly go wrong? We need to submit this to Anheuser Busch, perhaps they could pay off enough Congresscritters to ram this through.

      Excellent idea. Think of how much the figures on hyperactivity in school will improve.

      Reply
      1. Firebird7478

        Of course there’d be an overflow in after school detention from all the giggling and what not as the teachers try to teach.

        Reply
  7. Steve

    Home schoolers also tend to be skeptics of conventional wisdom and government intrusion into daily life, which is why their kids don’t go to traditional school. That would lead me to the hypothesis that homeschool children would have better health. Of courses, the state-funded researchers could never concieve of that possibility because the state improves everything.

    So again, we’re talking about different kinds of people, not the effects of home-schooling per se.

    Reply
  8. Beth

    I currently work as a lunch lady at my local grade school, and I cannot believe the crap they feed these kids…all “chicken” is formed, breaded “chicken product.” How about a bag of Fritos w/”meat product” dumped in and “imitation sour cream” added? (That was a main dish, if you can believe it!)

    I had read enough to know that school lunches were not good, but I was taken aback at how bad they actually are. No big shock to me that parents that care enough to home school also care enough to serve real food. I’m sure their kids are reaping the benefits of both those things.

    Reply
      1. Walter Bushell

        There’s this little things like paying the rent and buying food. People who take those jobs can’t afford to be picky.

        Sufficient idealism and you won’t find a job at all in this economy. Every major corporation and industry has human blood on their hands.

        Reply
    1. js290

      Who needs bullies when you have busybody school admins?

      I’d rather have the bullies. You can punch them in the nose. (Or have your older brother do it … worked for me.)

      Reply
  9. Quinn The Eskimo

    I had to chortle at this line:

    ” a small sausage can significantly harm sperm quality, scientists believe.”

    Only for men with small sausages.

    Reply
  10. rudy-in-la

    Tom, you may be missing the real intention of generating those “fat letters” sent to the parents. I think in government, you need to create a situation, that becomes elevated to a crisis, that then needs to be solved, that then requires “investment” that government fixes. Schools get the money, then get to decide what it gets spent on. Maybe even some innovative new health program like, I don’t know, a school named after Kelley Brownell or something like that. As an example of money fixing problems, I’m watching CSPAN right now as the geniuses who set up the website for health care have so far literally testified that at a 90% to 99% application failure rate is a example of all systems “performing as they should and as expected.” Tom, as a programmer yourself, you now have an example of what your clients should accept as good code writing from you.

    I tried to convince my supervisor that if the systems I design work 10% of the time, I’ve done great work. He didn’t buy it, so I can only surmise he isn’t qualified to run any government agencies.

    Reply
  11. Firebird7478

    It seems to me that all this nanny stuff is being generated from the hippies of the 1960s and their children.

    Yee-up. Who woulda thunk that members of the generation who prided themselves on being anti-establishment and anti-authority would grow up and become the biggest cheerleaders for big government — the ultimate authority.

    Reminds me of something I read years ago in a book about control freaks: control freaks are anti-authority when they’re not in a position of power, but quickly turn into fascists when they rise to positions of power. In both cases, it’s the same instinct at work: the desire to have control.

    Reply
    1. Kristin

      I think you’ve taken a bit too broad a brush to the hippies. I certainly do know some that fall into that strange category of simultaneous counter-culture and fascist controller. I stay away from them. Perhaps I take too broad a brush as well but seems to me that many of them are also vegetarian or vegan.

      I also know a lot who are truly independent thinkers, home school their kids, shoot their own meat, grow their own veg, understand that we have all been had, nutrition-wise and generally would into a more libertarian category. Most of them don’t watch TV.

      Didn’t mean to lump them all together. It’s just strange how many of today’s big-government-lovin’ types in politics came out of the 1960s “anti-authority” generation.

      Reply
    2. Molly56

      I could write enough to bore you to tears on this topic, so I’ll try to be brief. The so-called “hippie generation” was in essence a media phenomenon that created a self-fulfilled prophesy, at least in my opinion. I’m a child of that generation, and I remember full well that the “hippie” lifestyle and philosophical worldview was nowhere near unanimous until we were so flooded by media suggestion that this was “the way all of us youth think” that after a while we just fell in line–especially the more suggestible. People tend to behave in ways that seem to be supported by the majority.

      The 1960’s were exceedingly controlled by television. There were THREE channels on TV–no internet, no alternative news. It was a world where you trusted the guy on the tube (Walter Conkite, remember?) because that was what everybody did. Who else was talking? The “counter culture” was treated as audacious, daring, an abomination–and somehow very, very, cool. Someone should go back and watch all that TV and ask if maybe the whole “don’t trust anyone over 30” was advertising hype with a political agenda. Young kids didn’t exactly control the message in the media–their elders did.

      I well remember that many of the fascist/communist types (two sides to the same coin) were there on the campuses actively recruiting. yelling, and denigrating us “sellouts to the establishment”. I suspect that our current crop of government leftist types came from that ilk.

      I suspect you’re right.

      Reply
  12. Cary L

    As a teacher I’m extremely fortunate to work in a school district that refuses to use the BMI index as a measure of health (and that lets me show “Fat Head” to my Sociology students as part of a unit on social responsibility in the media). With all of the “shame on you” messages our children are already receiving through advertising and social media, the last thing our schools should be doing is jumping on the bandwagon and adding more damage to the self-esteem of today’s youth.

    Now if we can only get beer sandwiches added to the school lunch menu …

    I believe all you’ll need to do is point out that beer sandwiches include grain products and are low-fat.

    Reply
    1. Walter Bushell

      RE TOM’s reply.

      A modest proposal — Include beer in school lunches. Perhaps Mary Jane could be included in the desserts to mellow the kids out.

      Not only that beer has no added sugar. Actually good unfiltered beer (to give the kiddies (and teachers) more B vitamins from the yeast) would doubtless improve school lunches. I remember them from the 1950s and I have substantial reason to believe they are much worse now.

      What could possibly go wrong? We need to submit this to Anheuser Busch, perhaps they could pay off enough Congresscritters to ram this through.

      Excellent idea. Think of how much the figures on hyperactivity in school will improve.

      Reply
      1. Firebird7478

        Of course there’d be an overflow in after school detention from all the giggling and what not as the teachers try to teach.

        Reply
  13. Steve

    Home schoolers also tend to be skeptics of conventional wisdom and government intrusion into daily life, which is why their kids don’t go to traditional school. That would lead me to the hypothesis that homeschool children would have better health. Of courses, the state-funded researchers could never concieve of that possibility because the state improves everything.

    So again, we’re talking about different kinds of people, not the effects of home-schooling per se.

    Reply
  14. Mike P

    The “schools using/commenting on BMI” really hits a nerve. My kids are young [6, almost 4, almost 2]. I’ve had pediatricians….that’s right….PEDIATRICIAN’s…. bring up BMI during well-baby visits. I think it was when my oldest turned 4. When my wife told me, I was so shocked I just laughed.

    My wife and I have read the articles you’ve posted in the past about schools butting in on what kids can bring to school in their lunches. We’ve had many discussions about what we would do [being involved/responsible parents] if we felt those rights were being infringed upon.

    It’s worrisome to think of gap in our educational system and then how schools are diluting their efforts to areas they shouldn’t

    Grok-on!

    When the U.S. leads the world in academic performance, then the schools can announce they have the resources to move into BMI tracking and other areas outside of education.

    Reply
  15. Chuck

    I thought Vegemite was a beer sandwich. Never tried it, and don’t want to.

    Vegemite (/ˈvɛdʒɨmaɪt/ VEJ-ə-myt) is a dark brown Australian food paste made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract, a by-product of beer manufacture, and various vegetable and spice additives. It is a popular spread for sandwiches, toast, crumpets and cracker biscuits as well as a filling for pastries.

    “Cardel is now focusing her efforts on understanding the influence of race/ethnicity and socioeconomic differences on dietary intakes and obesity risk in elementary school students.”

    I’m going to go with socioeconomics. Like you say home-school parents are probably adherers and instill that value on there kids. Home-schooled kids don’t have to worry about peer pressure and fitting in to the norm on a daily basis just to get by either. They just get to be themselves and do what they do. I often wonder what kind of a person I would be today if I had never been exposed to that environment as a kid. Would I be better, would I be worse, or would I be the same?

    I had a friend from Australia threaten to send me vegemite. At least I think it was a threat.

    Reply
    1. Tami

      Heyyyyyyyy, I grew up on vegemite. my kids grew up on vegemite. The only reason my grandson doesnt get it regulary is because we dont eat bread anymore 🙂

      Reply
    2. Ines

      I loved Marmite (the UK version)… it tastes awesome under cheese.
      But have not had it in years, my memory might be diluted.

      Reply
    3. Kristin

      Don’t knock vegemite/marmite until you’ve tried it. As an American I’ve never had the spread with butter on toast. I had already given up toast when I found out about it. But it is great as an addition to a sauce and makes a great sticky umami coating on chicken or shrimp. I admit I do use it less now that I eat a lot of fatty red meat instead. Just not as necessary!

      Reply
    4. Nads

      Had some oopsies the other day with slathers of butter and scrapes of vegemite. Pure bliss!

      Even bulletproof vegemite drink. Tastes like the old vegemite on toast.

      My mum used to add a little vegemite to boiled water and put it in a bottle for between feeds when I was a baby, so I did it for mine too.

      Now I’m hungry!

      Reply
  16. Beth

    I currently work as a lunch lady at my local grade school, and I cannot believe the crap they feed these kids…all “chicken” is formed, breaded “chicken product.” How about a bag of Fritos w/”meat product” dumped in and “imitation sour cream” added? (That was a main dish, if you can believe it!)

    I had read enough to know that school lunches were not good, but I was taken aback at how bad they actually are. No big shock to me that parents that care enough to home school also care enough to serve real food. I’m sure their kids are reaping the benefits of both those things.

    Reply
      1. Walter Bushell

        There’s this little things like paying the rent and buying food. People who take those jobs can’t afford to be picky.

        Sufficient idealism and you won’t find a job at all in this economy. Every major corporation and industry has human blood on their hands.

        Reply
    1. js290

      Who needs bullies when you have busybody school admins?

      I’d rather have the bullies. You can punch them in the nose. (Or have your older brother do it … worked for me.)

      Reply
  17. Quinn The Eskimo

    I had to chortle at this line:

    ” a small sausage can significantly harm sperm quality, scientists believe.”

    Only for men with small sausages.

    Reply
  18. Babs

    Homeschooled kids typically perform better on academics as well. Also, the black/white achievement gap doesnt exist among homeschooled kids. If they are eating fewer carbs and processed junk food then that alone may explain higher academic performance.

    Reply
  19. rudy-in-la

    Tom, you may be missing the real intention of generating those “fat letters” sent to the parents. I think in government, you need to create a situation, that becomes elevated to a crisis, that then needs to be solved, that then requires “investment” that government fixes. Schools get the money, then get to decide what it gets spent on. Maybe even some innovative new health program like, I don’t know, a school named after Kelley Brownell or something like that. As an example of money fixing problems, I’m watching CSPAN right now as the geniuses who set up the website for health care have so far literally testified that at a 90% to 99% application failure rate is a example of all systems “performing as they should and as expected.” Tom, as a programmer yourself, you now have an example of what your clients should accept as good code writing from you.

    I tried to convince my supervisor that if the systems I design work 10% of the time, I’ve done great work. He didn’t buy it, so I can only surmise he isn’t qualified to run any government agencies.

    Reply
  20. Firebird7478

    It seems to me that all this nanny stuff is being generated from the hippies of the 1960s and their children.

    Yee-up. Who woulda thunk that members of the generation who prided themselves on being anti-establishment and anti-authority would grow up and become the biggest cheerleaders for big government — the ultimate authority.

    Reminds me of something I read years ago in a book about control freaks: control freaks are anti-authority when they’re not in a position of power, but quickly turn into fascists when they rise to positions of power. In both cases, it’s the same instinct at work: the desire to have control.

    Reply
    1. Kristin

      I think you’ve taken a bit too broad a brush to the hippies. I certainly do know some that fall into that strange category of simultaneous counter-culture and fascist controller. I stay away from them. Perhaps I take too broad a brush as well but seems to me that many of them are also vegetarian or vegan.

      I also know a lot who are truly independent thinkers, home school their kids, shoot their own meat, grow their own veg, understand that we have all been had, nutrition-wise and generally would into a more libertarian category. Most of them don’t watch TV.

      Didn’t mean to lump them all together. It’s just strange how many of today’s big-government-lovin’ types in politics came out of the 1960s “anti-authority” generation.

      Reply
    2. Molly56

      I could write enough to bore you to tears on this topic, so I’ll try to be brief. The so-called “hippie generation” was in essence a media phenomenon that created a self-fulfilled prophesy, at least in my opinion. I’m a child of that generation, and I remember full well that the “hippie” lifestyle and philosophical worldview was nowhere near unanimous until we were so flooded by media suggestion that this was “the way all of us youth think” that after a while we just fell in line–especially the more suggestible. People tend to behave in ways that seem to be supported by the majority.

      The 1960’s were exceedingly controlled by television. There were THREE channels on TV–no internet, no alternative news. It was a world where you trusted the guy on the tube (Walter Conkite, remember?) because that was what everybody did. Who else was talking? The “counter culture” was treated as audacious, daring, an abomination–and somehow very, very, cool. Someone should go back and watch all that TV and ask if maybe the whole “don’t trust anyone over 30” was advertising hype with a political agenda. Young kids didn’t exactly control the message in the media–their elders did.

      I well remember that many of the fascist/communist types (two sides to the same coin) were there on the campuses actively recruiting. yelling, and denigrating us “sellouts to the establishment”. I suspect that our current crop of government leftist types came from that ilk.

      I suspect you’re right.

      Reply
  21. Joe

    Thank you Tom for everything that you do to promote health and well-being. I loved Fat Head because after joining the LCHF Paleo movement I noticed that most of the people have this excessive desire for government intrusion into health. They also tend to vilify the food industry not understanding that the food industry doesn’t make people eat anything; they simply respond to the demand that’s already there. In other words, Libertarian and Paleo? God bless your heart!

    Anyway, this article just illustrates again how poorly people tend to interpret correlations. It doesn’t surprise me at all that home-schooled children have better health outcomes. They tend to come from much more stable, dedicated families.

    As far as the bacon, cmon. People that eat more bacon are also probably more likely to eat processed junk food and smoke too. Doubtful that the bacom is causing sperm mutations. Again, thanks for everything and keep up the hard work!

    Bingo. Since bacon is considered junk food (by those who don’t know better), lots of health-conscious people avoid it. If I convinced everyone that beets are bad for you, we’d eventually see beets associated with worse health outcomes because health-conscious people would avoid them.

    It is an unfortunate aspect of human nature that once people think they’ve found the answer — avoid fat, avoid sugar, avoid beets, avoid salt, etc. — they’re tempted to impose that answer on others. I figure if people want to eat junk and die young, that’s should be their choice in a (supposedly) free country.

    Reply
    1. Ed

      ” I figure if people want to eat junk and die young, that’s should be their choice in a (supposedly) free country.”

      I agree with that completely. The sad or should I say criminal part is how much money our Government spends to ‘educate” us to eat all of this garbage. So many people fail to investigate and think for themselves. They truly believe the government only has their best interests at heart.

      But hey! They need to do something to convince us how badly we need Obamacare.

      Don’t get me started on that one again.

      Reply
  22. Mike P

    The “schools using/commenting on BMI” really hits a nerve. My kids are young [6, almost 4, almost 2]. I’ve had pediatricians….that’s right….PEDIATRICIAN’s…. bring up BMI during well-baby visits. I think it was when my oldest turned 4. When my wife told me, I was so shocked I just laughed.

    My wife and I have read the articles you’ve posted in the past about schools butting in on what kids can bring to school in their lunches. We’ve had many discussions about what we would do [being involved/responsible parents] if we felt those rights were being infringed upon.

    It’s worrisome to think of gap in our educational system and then how schools are diluting their efforts to areas they shouldn’t

    Grok-on!

    When the U.S. leads the world in academic performance, then the schools can announce they have the resources to move into BMI tracking and other areas outside of education.

    Reply
  23. Chuck

    I thought Vegemite was a beer sandwich. Never tried it, and don’t want to.

    Vegemite (/ˈvɛdʒɨmaɪt/ VEJ-ə-myt) is a dark brown Australian food paste made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract, a by-product of beer manufacture, and various vegetable and spice additives. It is a popular spread for sandwiches, toast, crumpets and cracker biscuits as well as a filling for pastries.

    “Cardel is now focusing her efforts on understanding the influence of race/ethnicity and socioeconomic differences on dietary intakes and obesity risk in elementary school students.”

    I’m going to go with socioeconomics. Like you say home-school parents are probably adherers and instill that value on there kids. Home-schooled kids don’t have to worry about peer pressure and fitting in to the norm on a daily basis just to get by either. They just get to be themselves and do what they do. I often wonder what kind of a person I would be today if I had never been exposed to that environment as a kid. Would I be better, would I be worse, or would I be the same?

    I had a friend from Australia threaten to send me vegemite. At least I think it was a threat.

    Reply
    1. Tami

      Heyyyyyyyy, I grew up on vegemite. my kids grew up on vegemite. The only reason my grandson doesnt get it regulary is because we dont eat bread anymore 🙂

      Reply
    2. Ines

      I loved Marmite (the UK version)… it tastes awesome under cheese.
      But have not had it in years, my memory might be diluted.

      Reply
    3. Kristin

      Don’t knock vegemite/marmite until you’ve tried it. As an American I’ve never had the spread with butter on toast. I had already given up toast when I found out about it. But it is great as an addition to a sauce and makes a great sticky umami coating on chicken or shrimp. I admit I do use it less now that I eat a lot of fatty red meat instead. Just not as necessary!

      Reply
    4. Nads

      Had some oopsies the other day with slathers of butter and scrapes of vegemite. Pure bliss!

      Even bulletproof vegemite drink. Tastes like the old vegemite on toast.

      My mum used to add a little vegemite to boiled water and put it in a bottle for between feeds when I was a baby, so I did it for mine too.

      Now I’m hungry!

      Reply
  24. Alex Rion

    From Discovery Health dot com –

    “In 1998, the National Institutes of Health lowered the overweight threshold for BMI 27.8 to 25 to match international guidelines. The move added 30 million Americans who were previously in the “healthy weight” category to the “overweight” category. Today, the NIH advises doctors and their patients to include BMI in a complete assessment of a person’s body size and overall health.”

    Create “crisis” then “fight” said crisis with someone else’s money?

    That’s the strategy — and it apparently works.

    Reply
    1. Walter Bushell

      Undergraduate Marketing 100. Create a problem and tell them how your product solves the problem. Hence diseases created when there is a drug that will cure the condition. Convince people they will have a heart attack if they don’t take statins and sell them statins and then more drugs, wheelchairs, beds in death watch camps, more physician visits etcetera.

      Reply
  25. Babs

    Homeschooled kids typically perform better on academics as well. Also, the black/white achievement gap doesnt exist among homeschooled kids. If they are eating fewer carbs and processed junk food then that alone may explain higher academic performance.

    Reply
  26. Joe

    Thank you Tom for everything that you do to promote health and well-being. I loved Fat Head because after joining the LCHF Paleo movement I noticed that most of the people have this excessive desire for government intrusion into health. They also tend to vilify the food industry not understanding that the food industry doesn’t make people eat anything; they simply respond to the demand that’s already there. In other words, Libertarian and Paleo? God bless your heart!

    Anyway, this article just illustrates again how poorly people tend to interpret correlations. It doesn’t surprise me at all that home-schooled children have better health outcomes. They tend to come from much more stable, dedicated families.

    As far as the bacon, cmon. People that eat more bacon are also probably more likely to eat processed junk food and smoke too. Doubtful that the bacom is causing sperm mutations. Again, thanks for everything and keep up the hard work!

    Bingo. Since bacon is considered junk food (by those who don’t know better), lots of health-conscious people avoid it. If I convinced everyone that beets are bad for you, we’d eventually see beets associated with worse health outcomes because health-conscious people would avoid them.

    It is an unfortunate aspect of human nature that once people think they’ve found the answer — avoid fat, avoid sugar, avoid beets, avoid salt, etc. — they’re tempted to impose that answer on others. I figure if people want to eat junk and die young, that’s should be their choice in a (supposedly) free country.

    Reply
    1. Ed

      ” I figure if people want to eat junk and die young, that’s should be their choice in a (supposedly) free country.”

      I agree with that completely. The sad or should I say criminal part is how much money our Government spends to ‘educate” us to eat all of this garbage. So many people fail to investigate and think for themselves. They truly believe the government only has their best interests at heart.

      But hey! They need to do something to convince us how badly we need Obamacare.

      Don’t get me started on that one again.

      Reply
  27. Alex Rion

    From Discovery Health dot com –

    “In 1998, the National Institutes of Health lowered the overweight threshold for BMI 27.8 to 25 to match international guidelines. The move added 30 million Americans who were previously in the “healthy weight” category to the “overweight” category. Today, the NIH advises doctors and their patients to include BMI in a complete assessment of a person’s body size and overall health.”

    Create “crisis” then “fight” said crisis with someone else’s money?

    That’s the strategy — and it apparently works.

    Reply
    1. Walter Bushell

      Undergraduate Marketing 100. Create a problem and tell them how your product solves the problem. Hence diseases created when there is a drug that will cure the condition. Convince people they will have a heart attack if they don’t take statins and sell them statins and then more drugs, wheelchairs, beds in death watch camps, more physician visits etcetera.

      Reply
  28. Ines

    I recently attended a block party. We all brought food and essentially had a big feast on the street
    I was in shock about how little I actually wanted to eat. My husband smoke some pork for pulled pork (that was our contribution), but generally everything else was something we would not necessarily serve at home.
    I was also in shock how overweight most kids are. Or a lot larger than the kids I grew up with.

    I generally am opposed to schools being involved in the health aspects of the children — BMI index, screening lunch boxes from home, medication… none of their business. I am just not interested in other people’s opinions on how kids are being brought up, and I believe this is one thing that should never be standardized and governed. I am big in process development, which is my job, so I know a lot about standardization and governance. Which is fine in a manufacturing environment, but not so much in school with regards to food and health.

    However, the girl in the article is 11 and is weighing more than I who is 39 with her 124 pounds (and I am by no means skinny, and around 5′ 3”) Yes, she might not be obese, but she is definitely taller and heavier than most 11 year olds I used to know. Nowadays, it might be more norm. While I do not htink the school has the right to interfere and it might not be a health threat, I find this concerning. Not my point to judge, I know. I am very much surprised by how the bodily shapes and norms for kids and teenagers have changed.

    Back to the block party, we live in a upper middle class neighborhood and a lot of the girls in early puberty outweigh me, but are not necessarily taller. And the mothers and fathers carry their weight, too.

    I seriously wish we can turn the misunderstanding of healthy eating around. I am getting paranoid sending my kids home with other kids and hearing how other parents feed my kids (yes, they know better, and they refuse to eat school lunches, yippeeeh, but who would say no to ice cream, cookies, etc.), and what is offered at birthday parties… it makes me shudder.
    I am also constantly fighting with my in-laws who believe the right side dish to spaghetti and meatballs is bread with cake as desert. And juice to drink — “Thank you, my kids will have some water with the meal. And please do not bother to get the skim milk out fo the fridge, water is just fine.”

    I sometimes think, results will speak for themselves. I get mistaken for being a lot younger than I am. I have good skin, and a reasonable body shape… I just finished my first sub-4h marathon while refusing to carb-out pre-race and maintaining my low carb eating habits throughout the training (no GUs and other sugary gels to keep energy up). This is the first year I have done that…

    I revisited what I know about eating 3 years ago when I started gaining weight while on marathon training without necessarily pigging out on food. I was constantly dying of hunger, and ate all the recommended diets promising you high energy levels (I probably do not have to spell out the details). I also took these energy gels during longer runs. Essentially, increasing the carb amount I was eating, while maintaining calories. I think I felt like an oddity being on marathon training and gaining 5lbs. It made me wonder…

    This year… I did not gain a pound. Maintained my weight and went down a dress size.

    And I never really needed any energy gels during longer runs. I was fine running with water.

    Ha.

    She on the volleyball team is probably is tall for her ate. It’s clear from the picture she isn’t a fat kid.

    Reply
    1. Babs

      From the sounds of ur story u sound like a *naturally thin* type of person. If you are only 124# at 39 even while eating higher amounts of carbs, you would almost have to have some kind of *good genes* that give you a somewhat unfair advantage. And if ur eating LCHF, u have even more the advantage.

      For the rest of us chunky monkeys, we really don’t appreciate anyone telling us our kids are fat. Speshly if ur feeding them all th *right* food (cereals, hearthealthywholegrains, etc.)

      Reply
      1. Ines

        I think you read something into my story that I did not write.
        Naturally thin. Lol.
        I had to work hard for my current weight and only recently learned to eat right. For the first time in years I am no longer cranky, hungry, and near tears when going shopping.., naturally thin. Lol.
        Trust me. I carried my burden and carried my share of unecessary weight.

        Reply
    2. Ines

      I do not think anyone can judge how big she is from any picture. I think she looks overweight just from the picture, but you think she is not. I think we are both entitled to an opinion, neither one will be based on facts. Just perception.

      But I am happy that we both agree that a BMI is not a good judgement call either or any reason a school should interfere. That is all that matters.

      Reply
      1. Babs

        My opinion is not that she’s not overweight or overweight. In fact I didn’t even click on the picture. The only thing I need to know is someone else is making it their business to call a kid fat. And my opinion is that no one, especially those of us who are chunks, wants their kid called out for being overweight. By anyone. Especially by someone who sounds *naturally thin* as you do from ur description of yourself. I’ll leave you with the last word.

        Reply
        1. Ines

          Somehow your comments do not make sense in the context of what I wrote. So my only conclusion is that you are not interested in dialogue and need an enemy picture. I hate myself for writing a last word, but I am surprised by this negativity. I usually do not like feeding negativity and walk away. But generally we support the same point of view, so why are we fighting…????

          Reply
    3. Galina L.

      Do not worry too much. I raised my son (he is 21 now) on a home-cooked food without coca-cola and snacks at my fridge without paying any attention to what he ate at other people houses or birthday parties, partially, because I though it could cause social problems, and people are supposed to have whatever rules at their home they choose to have, and expect their guests to be good guests. I am not talking about special cases like allergies and diabetes or keeping guns unlocked, or boa constrictors as pets. It worked quite well, my son grew-up without cavities, thin and muscular. My relaxed approach helped him to feel comfortable now around people who eat different food , like vegetarians, and sweet junk never became a desirable forbidden fruit. He values a lot now that he had a privilege to eat which was cooked at home. Probably, I would be more annoyed if I had candies-spreading in-laws around, but I am from different country, and all relatives are far away.

      Reply
  29. Rae Ford

    I totally agree about banning BMI testing from schools. Now 34, I remember them testing us in schools when I was a young, obviously fat kid. I was horrified, angered, and embarrassed when half the kids in my class crept forward to see what the scale said when it was my turn. When the results came back later that I was “Morbidly obese” I was absolutely sure that I was going to drop dead at any moment. That alienating humiliation and fear didn’t motivate me to play more with friends – they were making fun of me after all (Thanks Hamilton Co. schools for giving them the ammo) and it didn’t encourage me to eat “healthier” because my mom already had us all eating “healthy” foods like whole wheat bread, skim milk, and fat free everything. All BMI testing did for me was exactly what that smarter-than-the-testers-11-year-old said, it broke my courage.

    And that is exactly what a fat kid doesn’t need. Nobody ever shamed anyone into being thinner.

    Reply
    1. Babs

      I’m also 34 and in my house Raisin Bran was considered a sweet cereal. But all 5 of my bros and sisters were overweight as teens and now as adults. Plus both my parents are morbidly obese with diabetes. But we had all the hearthealthywholegrains just like the food propaganda said to eat.

      At 5’2″ and 140# my two sisters actually think I’m thin. Eight years ago I white knuckled it down to 125#…I was starving the whole time. I would eat bean burritos and diet dr pepper. But that weight didn’t last long. Plus now I wonder how much lean body mass I sacrificed in the long run. I’m hoping LCHF will work. I’ve been doing it since late Sept…I’m testing as being in ketosis according to the ketostix.

      Good luck with the diet. I hope you lose weight without feeling hungry this time.

      Reply
  30. Ines

    I recently attended a block party. We all brought food and essentially had a big feast on the street
    I was in shock about how little I actually wanted to eat. My husband smoke some pork for pulled pork (that was our contribution), but generally everything else was something we would not necessarily serve at home.
    I was also in shock how overweight most kids are. Or a lot larger than the kids I grew up with.

    I generally am opposed to schools being involved in the health aspects of the children — BMI index, screening lunch boxes from home, medication… none of their business. I am just not interested in other people’s opinions on how kids are being brought up, and I believe this is one thing that should never be standardized and governed. I am big in process development, which is my job, so I know a lot about standardization and governance. Which is fine in a manufacturing environment, but not so much in school with regards to food and health.

    However, the girl in the article is 11 and is weighing more than I who is 39 with her 124 pounds (and I am by no means skinny, and around 5′ 3”) Yes, she might not be obese, but she is definitely taller and heavier than most 11 year olds I used to know. Nowadays, it might be more norm. While I do not htink the school has the right to interfere and it might not be a health threat, I find this concerning. Not my point to judge, I know. I am very much surprised by how the bodily shapes and norms for kids and teenagers have changed.

    Back to the block party, we live in a upper middle class neighborhood and a lot of the girls in early puberty outweigh me, but are not necessarily taller. And the mothers and fathers carry their weight, too.

    I seriously wish we can turn the misunderstanding of healthy eating around. I am getting paranoid sending my kids home with other kids and hearing how other parents feed my kids (yes, they know better, and they refuse to eat school lunches, yippeeeh, but who would say no to ice cream, cookies, etc.), and what is offered at birthday parties… it makes me shudder.
    I am also constantly fighting with my in-laws who believe the right side dish to spaghetti and meatballs is bread with cake as desert. And juice to drink — “Thank you, my kids will have some water with the meal. And please do not bother to get the skim milk out fo the fridge, water is just fine.”

    I sometimes think, results will speak for themselves. I get mistaken for being a lot younger than I am. I have good skin, and a reasonable body shape… I just finished my first sub-4h marathon while refusing to carb-out pre-race and maintaining my low carb eating habits throughout the training (no GUs and other sugary gels to keep energy up). This is the first year I have done that…

    I revisited what I know about eating 3 years ago when I started gaining weight while on marathon training without necessarily pigging out on food. I was constantly dying of hunger, and ate all the recommended diets promising you high energy levels (I probably do not have to spell out the details). I also took these energy gels during longer runs. Essentially, increasing the carb amount I was eating, while maintaining calories. I think I felt like an oddity being on marathon training and gaining 5lbs. It made me wonder…

    This year… I did not gain a pound. Maintained my weight and went down a dress size.

    And I never really needed any energy gels during longer runs. I was fine running with water.

    Ha.

    She on the volleyball team is probably is tall for her ate. It’s clear from the picture she isn’t a fat kid.

    Reply
    1. Babs

      From the sounds of ur story u sound like a *naturally thin* type of person. If you are only 124# at 39 even while eating higher amounts of carbs, you would almost have to have some kind of *good genes* that give you a somewhat unfair advantage. And if ur eating LCHF, u have even more the advantage.

      For the rest of us chunky monkeys, we really don’t appreciate anyone telling us our kids are fat. Speshly if ur feeding them all th *right* food (cereals, hearthealthywholegrains, etc.)

      Reply
      1. Ines

        I think you read something into my story that I did not write.
        Naturally thin. Lol.
        I had to work hard for my current weight and only recently learned to eat right. For the first time in years I am no longer cranky, hungry, and near tears when going shopping.., naturally thin. Lol.
        Trust me. I carried my burden and carried my share of unecessary weight.

        Reply
    2. Ines

      I do not think anyone can judge how big she is from any picture. I think she looks overweight just from the picture, but you think she is not. I think we are both entitled to an opinion, neither one will be based on facts. Just perception.

      But I am happy that we both agree that a BMI is not a good judgement call either or any reason a school should interfere. That is all that matters.

      Reply
      1. Babs

        My opinion is not that she’s not overweight or overweight. In fact I didn’t even click on the picture. The only thing I need to know is someone else is making it their business to call a kid fat. And my opinion is that no one, especially those of us who are chunks, wants their kid called out for being overweight. By anyone. Especially by someone who sounds *naturally thin* as you do from ur description of yourself. I’ll leave you with the last word.

        Reply
        1. Ines

          Somehow your comments do not make sense in the context of what I wrote. So my only conclusion is that you are not interested in dialogue and need an enemy picture. I hate myself for writing a last word, but I am surprised by this negativity. I usually do not like feeding negativity and walk away. But generally we support the same point of view, so why are we fighting…????

          Reply
    3. Galina L.

      Do not worry too much. I raised my son (he is 21 now) on a home-cooked food without coca-cola and snacks at my fridge without paying any attention to what he ate at other people houses or birthday parties, partially, because I though it could cause social problems, and people are supposed to have whatever rules at their home they choose to have, and expect their guests to be good guests. I am not talking about special cases like allergies and diabetes or keeping guns unlocked, or boa constrictors as pets. It worked quite well, my son grew-up without cavities, thin and muscular. My relaxed approach helped him to feel comfortable now around people who eat different food , like vegetarians, and sweet junk never became a desirable forbidden fruit. He values a lot now that he had a privilege to eat which was cooked at home. Probably, I would be more annoyed if I had candies-spreading in-laws around, but I am from different country, and all relatives are far away.

      Reply
  31. penty

    Okay, BMI is not supposed to be used for children. It’s an adults only measurement even if it is flawed in other ways.

    Kids often “bulk up” on the cusp of a growth spurt.. seriously…let’s be grain farmers and make our kids shorter that they should be then starve them based on invalid science to they will be even shorter… Genius!

    We’ve noticed the bulking-up phases with the girls. They seem to get a little thicker (not fatter) first, then shoot up in height.

    Reply
    1. Walter Bushell

      BMI was designed for populations not individual people. So any medical or dietary professional applies it to you, then they are a Quack.

      Reply
  32. Rae Ford

    I totally agree about banning BMI testing from schools. Now 34, I remember them testing us in schools when I was a young, obviously fat kid. I was horrified, angered, and embarrassed when half the kids in my class crept forward to see what the scale said when it was my turn. When the results came back later that I was “Morbidly obese” I was absolutely sure that I was going to drop dead at any moment. That alienating humiliation and fear didn’t motivate me to play more with friends – they were making fun of me after all (Thanks Hamilton Co. schools for giving them the ammo) and it didn’t encourage me to eat “healthier” because my mom already had us all eating “healthy” foods like whole wheat bread, skim milk, and fat free everything. All BMI testing did for me was exactly what that smarter-than-the-testers-11-year-old said, it broke my courage.

    And that is exactly what a fat kid doesn’t need. Nobody ever shamed anyone into being thinner.

    Reply
    1. Babs

      I’m also 34 and in my house Raisin Bran was considered a sweet cereal. But all 5 of my bros and sisters were overweight as teens and now as adults. Plus both my parents are morbidly obese with diabetes. But we had all the hearthealthywholegrains just like the food propaganda said to eat.

      At 5’2″ and 140# my two sisters actually think I’m thin. Eight years ago I white knuckled it down to 125#…I was starving the whole time. I would eat bean burritos and diet dr pepper. But that weight didn’t last long. Plus now I wonder how much lean body mass I sacrificed in the long run. I’m hoping LCHF will work. I’ve been doing it since late Sept…I’m testing as being in ketosis according to the ketostix.

      Good luck with the diet. I hope you lose weight without feeling hungry this time.

      Reply
  33. penty

    Okay, BMI is not supposed to be used for children. It’s an adults only measurement even if it is flawed in other ways.

    Kids often “bulk up” on the cusp of a growth spurt.. seriously…let’s be grain farmers and make our kids shorter that they should be then starve them based on invalid science to they will be even shorter… Genius!

    We’ve noticed the bulking-up phases with the girls. They seem to get a little thicker (not fatter) first, then shoot up in height.

    Reply
    1. Walter Bushell

      BMI was designed for populations not individual people. So any medical or dietary professional applies it to you, then they are a Quack.

      Reply
  34. TMA

    Hey Tom,

    I wholeheartedly agree that schools should not be in the business of telling kids they need to lose weight.

    You wrote “the BMI is a stupid method for determining who’s fat and who isn’t. ”

    Fine, but what would you use then? Waist circumference (WC) is an alternative but it too has limitations. What’s a simple-minded doctor who’s being asked to see a patient every 15 minutes to do? The more sophisticated ways of assessing body fat composition are not always readily available, may be costly, may have more inter-user variability and may involve radiation exposure to patients. Given their simplicity, BMI and WC are, in my opinion, not unreasonable as basic measures. Clearly you have to employ some common sense–i.e. if you see a fit looking person who’s active and his BMI is 27, you should recognize the “extra weight” may be muscle. On the other hand, if you see someone who’s pudgy around the middle and has prediabetes and his BMI is 27, the BMI can be helpful, particularly because it can be tracked over time.

    Another point is that people can be, understandably, sensitive about their weight struggles, so I find that BMI is a neutral/uncharged way of broaching the point that weight loss may be needed. So while I certainly agree that common sense and an “eye test” are needed, I’d need to have a better alternative before dismissing BMI altogether.

    If it’s a doctor seeing a patient, then I’d say you already answered the question: common sense and the “eyeball” test. I’ve seen plenty of people with skinny arms and legs but also with a pot belly. The BMI standard would call them “normal” weight, but they’ve clearly got visceral fat building up.

    The doctor I visited in Fat Head had me use one of those body-fat impedance monitors. I’ve heard they’re not 100% accurate, but I’d rather see doctors use those than go by BMI. I bought one to use at home after seeing his. As I lost fat and gained muscle, the monitor did show my body-fat dropping, even though my weight on the scale barely moved.

    Reply
  35. TMA

    Hey Tom,

    I wholeheartedly agree that schools should not be in the business of telling kids they need to lose weight.

    You wrote “the BMI is a stupid method for determining who’s fat and who isn’t. ”

    Fine, but what would you use then? Waist circumference (WC) is an alternative but it too has limitations. What’s a simple-minded doctor who’s being asked to see a patient every 15 minutes to do? The more sophisticated ways of assessing body fat composition are not always readily available, may be costly, may have more inter-user variability and may involve radiation exposure to patients. Given their simplicity, BMI and WC are, in my opinion, not unreasonable as basic measures. Clearly you have to employ some common sense–i.e. if you see a fit looking person who’s active and his BMI is 27, you should recognize the “extra weight” may be muscle. On the other hand, if you see someone who’s pudgy around the middle and has prediabetes and his BMI is 27, the BMI can be helpful, particularly because it can be tracked over time.

    Another point is that people can be, understandably, sensitive about their weight struggles, so I find that BMI is a neutral/uncharged way of broaching the point that weight loss may be needed. So while I certainly agree that common sense and an “eye test” are needed, I’d need to have a better alternative before dismissing BMI altogether.

    If it’s a doctor seeing a patient, then I’d say you already answered the question: common sense and the “eyeball” test. I’ve seen plenty of people with skinny arms and legs but also with a pot belly. The BMI standard would call them “normal” weight, but they’ve clearly got visceral fat building up.

    The doctor I visited in Fat Head had me use one of those body-fat impedance monitors. I’ve heard they’re not 100% accurate, but I’d rather see doctors use those than go by BMI. I bought one to use at home after seeing his. As I lost fat and gained muscle, the monitor did show my body-fat dropping, even though my weight on the scale barely moved.

    Reply
  36. Kelly

    They’ve been sending those fat-shaming letters to kids in Massachusetts for the past couple of years, but I just found out they’re stopping! I’m not sure why – I hope it’s because someone realized how stupid and harmful it is and not just because of lack of funds or something mundane – but I’m glad it’s ending.

    Perhaps one of the Kennedy children was labeled as fat.

    Reply
  37. Kelly

    They’ve been sending those fat-shaming letters to kids in Massachusetts for the past couple of years, but I just found out they’re stopping! I’m not sure why – I hope it’s because someone realized how stupid and harmful it is and not just because of lack of funds or something mundane – but I’m glad it’s ending.

    Perhaps one of the Kennedy children was labeled as fat.

    Reply

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