The Government Is Tracking Your BMI

Turns out the federal government wasn’t satisfied with merely encouraging us all to become fatter through their dietary advice and grain subsidies. Nope, that wasn’t nearly intrusive enough. Now they want to track our BMIs and tell us how fat we are.

Some states are already getting into the act by sending BMI scores home on kids’ report cards. No, I’m not kidding. I really, really wish I were kidding, but I’m afraid it’s true. Check it out:

Apparently, the state governments believe parents whose kids are overweight are unaware of the fact. So you see, if we can just get the schools to inform the parents, they’ll wise up and put those fat little tykes on a diet.

It’s the same old, tired, failed confrontation theory: first tell people they’re fat, then shove the calorie counts in their faces whenever they go to buy food anywhere, and they’ll stop being such gluttons. It doesn’t work, but governments keep trying. After all, whenever they see a problem, politicians feel an irresistible urge to do something!  Whether or not that something will actually work doesn’t seem to matter.

The BMI report card idea has already been tried, by the way.  Arkansas began mandating BMI scores on report cards back in 2003.  So how much of an effect has the state’s intrusion had on the kids’ weights after seven years? I think you can guess:  none.  The program is failure.

But since we’re talking about government, failure is simply an excuse to do the same thing again, only bigger.  So now the federal government is getting in on the act.  A section of the “stimulus” bill requires doctors and hospitals to track everyone’s BMI electronically and report it to the federal government beginning in 2014.

If you can figure out how forcing hospitals to waste resources tracking my BMI stimulates the economy, please explain it to me.  (And if you thought the monster “stimulus” package and the monster health-care bill were great ideas, just wait … nobody in Congress read those beasts before voting on them, and we’re going to eventually find out all kinds of new government intrusions were included in them.)

Given the failure of mandatory BMI scores to inspire weight loss, you might wonder what kind of idiot — aside from the elected variety — could actually think this is a good idea.  Here’s what kind of idiot:

As you can see, Meme Roth is still disguising her disdain for fat people as a financial issue. If you’re fat, it costs her money, doncha know, so now it’s her business.  That’s a load of bologna.  Our neighbors just had their fourth child.  We have two.  I did the math, and they’re going to cost the public school system roughly $200,000 more than we will, while receiving two extra tax deductions. That doesn’t make the size of their family any of my business.  And as I explained in detail in a previous post, the idea that fat people cost “society” more than healthy people is a myth anyway.

It’s also a myth than everyone with a BMI of over 25 is unhealthy, or even overweight. Meme says BMI is only inaccurate for professional athletes and body-builders.  Oh, really?  If you’ve seen Fat Head, you’ll recall the scene where Dr. Eric Oliver informed that according to the BMI standard, he’s overweight. I had the guy stand up, and he’s about as lean as you can get.

My current BMI is 28, but there’s nothing wrong with my health.  And as far as I know, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Brad Pitt and George Clooney aren’t professional athletes … but they’re all overweight according to the BMI standard. (Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson are actually “obese.”)

When Meme pulled out a copy of the Constitution to justify further government intrusion, I was inspired to song.  The lyrics went something like this:  Meme, you incredible @#$%ing idiot!  Try actually reading the Constitution sometime!

Yes, of course the Constitution doesn’t require anyone to pay the cost of someone else’s decisions.  Nor would it allow the government to force hospitals to assist them in tracking everyone’s BMI.  The only reason we’re “all paying” for everyone else’s bad health habits in the first place is that Congress violated the Constitution when it forced taxpayers to support socialized medicine.

If we want to lower the financial burden that “everyone pays” for obesity, let’s get the government out of the health and nutrition business.  Allowing them to insert themselves ever more deeply into our lives isn’t the cure.  It’s the problem.


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96 thoughts on “The Government Is Tracking Your BMI

  1. Howard

    Listening to Meme Roth and reading about more government intrusion makes me want to puke, which ironically will make me lose weight.

    Hey, don’t feel bad. If Meme achieves her dream of making everyone with a BMI over 25 feel ashamed, there will be plenty of bulimics in the country.

    Reply
  2. Carol Bardelli

    Mel Gibson’s “obesity” or amplitude is of the mouth vulgarity variety.

    Tracking everyone’s BMI is just like tracking cholesterol, then telling us a normal number is too high and we need drugs to lower it. Tracking BMI will allow them to push weight loss drugs. They thankfully failed to pass one of the new dangerous weight loss drugs. But I bet there are new money making drugs in the wings.

    Never mind the huge stimulus to the private weight loss industry. Telling us we’re fat, even when we’re obviously not, makes many willing consumers of expensive drugs and other products.

    MeMe, on the other hand, is just an attention seeking “skinny white lady” on a witch hunt. (Fatty hunt?) She’s just darkening the already confusing waters regarding body weight and health. Too bad she gets so much media attention.

    I think she gets so much media attention because she’s so annoying. It makes for dramatic TV.

    Reply
  3. bubba29

    here is a novel idea, people who are on the free (to them at least) healthcare should have to provide detailed reports of what they eat in order to qualify for that healthcare. maybe that would open some eyes. excess carbs=obesity and chronic diseases is what they would find. then maybe there could be a national move toward meaningful change.

    Unfortunately, we may all end up there. I’m very suspicious that the federal government wants to know everyone’s BMI and have access to everyone’s medical records.

    Reply
  4. Ramona Denton

    This type of information infuriates me and scares me. My low-carb diet has improved my health a lot, but my labs are still not what they are looking for…

    They want everyone’s medical records to be electronic by 2014. Lord only knows what they’ll do with those records.

    Reply
  5. Mary

    My kids entered public school for the first time this year, so I was unaware of the whole BMI issues. So, I was shocked when I got a note from the nurse that stated that my 12 year old daughter was “severely underweight” and my 10 year old son was “obese” and I should consult their doctor.

    You can see them here, my daughter on the far left and my son on the far right, and as you can see…. both are a healthy size.
    http://i31.tinypic.com/118k679.jpg

    Farther down on the note it explained that this was based on BMI…. so of course I threw the note out. 🙂

    Good lord, that’s just nuts. Those look like perfectly healthy kids to me.

    Reply
  6. Tracey

    On the subject of engineered drama on TV – saw this at school on Tuesday:
    http://tvnz.co.nz/close-up/being-fat-your-own-fault-2778376
    Hopefully you non-kiwis will still be able to watch the video.

    Oh, and this might appeal too – http://www.explosm.net/comics/2118/

    Happy Friday 🙂

    The Professor is Meme Roth with a more pleasant demeanor. His line about how no fat people ever walked out of a concentration camp is stupid. No healthy people ever walked out of a concentration camp either.

    Reply
  7. Tom

    One more thing to argue with the doctor about when I refuse to be weighed.

    If my doctor wants to weigh me for the purposes of telling me my BMI is too high, I’ll agree … but only if he can beat me in arm-wrestling.

    Reply
  8. Andrew

    The kid in the first video is not overweight, she’s cute. Maybe it’s jealousy…

    That was my thought. If you saw her in person, “almost overweight” would not come to mind.

    Reply
  9. Howard

    Listening to Meme Roth and reading about more government intrusion makes me want to puke, which ironically will make me lose weight.

    Hey, don’t feel bad. If Meme achieves her dream of making everyone with a BMI over 25 feel ashamed, there will be plenty of bulimics in the country.

    Reply
  10. Richard Tamesis, M.D.

    A bodybuilder or a weight lifter with big muscles will actually be considered obese by BMI even if they have a body fat that is less than 10% since the BMI is primarily calculated simply from weight and height without taking to account the amount of body fat. I am convinced that the government is run by dolts who barely passed grade school math and want to peg people based on simple arithmetic.

    Well, I don’t want to paint with too broad of a brush here, but now that you mention it, when I went to my high-school reunions (in a state-government town), it was mostly the dolts who had become state employees.

    Reply
  11. Carol Bardelli

    Mel Gibson’s “obesity” or amplitude is of the mouth vulgarity variety.

    Tracking everyone’s BMI is just like tracking cholesterol, then telling us a normal number is too high and we need drugs to lower it. Tracking BMI will allow them to push weight loss drugs. They thankfully failed to pass one of the new dangerous weight loss drugs. But I bet there are new money making drugs in the wings.

    Never mind the huge stimulus to the private weight loss industry. Telling us we’re fat, even when we’re obviously not, makes many willing consumers of expensive drugs and other products.

    MeMe, on the other hand, is just an attention seeking “skinny white lady” on a witch hunt. (Fatty hunt?) She’s just darkening the already confusing waters regarding body weight and health. Too bad she gets so much media attention.

    I think she gets so much media attention because she’s so annoying. It makes for dramatic TV.

    Reply
  12. bubba29

    here is a novel idea, people who are on the free (to them at least) healthcare should have to provide detailed reports of what they eat in order to qualify for that healthcare. maybe that would open some eyes. excess carbs=obesity and chronic diseases is what they would find. then maybe there could be a national move toward meaningful change.

    Unfortunately, we may all end up there. I’m very suspicious that the federal government wants to know everyone’s BMI and have access to everyone’s medical records.

    Reply
  13. Ramona Denton

    This type of information infuriates me and scares me. My low-carb diet has improved my health a lot, but my labs are still not what they are looking for…

    They want everyone’s medical records to be electronic by 2014. Lord only knows what they’ll do with those records.

    Reply
  14. Mary

    My kids entered public school for the first time this year, so I was unaware of the whole BMI issues. So, I was shocked when I got a note from the nurse that stated that my 12 year old daughter was “severely underweight” and my 10 year old son was “obese” and I should consult their doctor.

    You can see them here, my daughter on the far left and my son on the far right, and as you can see…. both are a healthy size.
    http://i31.tinypic.com/118k679.jpg

    Farther down on the note it explained that this was based on BMI…. so of course I threw the note out. 🙂

    Good lord, that’s just nuts. Those look like perfectly healthy kids to me.

    Reply
  15. Tracey

    On the subject of engineered drama on TV – saw this at school on Tuesday:
    http://tvnz.co.nz/close-up/being-fat-your-own-fault-2778376
    Hopefully you non-kiwis will still be able to watch the video.

    Oh, and this might appeal too – http://www.explosm.net/comics/2118/

    Happy Friday 🙂

    The Professor is Meme Roth with a more pleasant demeanor. His line about how no fat people ever walked out of a concentration camp is stupid. No healthy people ever walked out of a concentration camp either.

    Reply
  16. Tom

    One more thing to argue with the doctor about when I refuse to be weighed.

    If my doctor wants to weigh me for the purposes of telling me my BMI is too high, I’ll agree … but only if he can beat me in arm-wrestling.

    Reply
  17. Andrew

    The kid in the first video is not overweight, she’s cute. Maybe it’s jealousy…

    That was my thought. If you saw her in person, “almost overweight” would not come to mind.

    Reply
  18. Richard Tamesis, M.D.

    A bodybuilder or a weight lifter with big muscles will actually be considered obese by BMI even if they have a body fat that is less than 10% since the BMI is primarily calculated simply from weight and height without taking to account the amount of body fat. I am convinced that the government is run by dolts who barely passed grade school math and want to peg people based on simple arithmetic.

    Well, I don’t want to paint with too broad of a brush here, but now that you mention it, when I went to my high-school reunions (in a state-government town), it was mostly the dolts who had become state employees.

    Reply
  19. Todd S.

    The sad truth is that obese people are indeed costing me more. But government is the reason, not the solution. If we weren’t forced into collectivized medical subscription plans (which are inaccurately termed “health insurance”) we wouldn’t have this issue. Even before the “Obamacare” bill, government regulations made pay-as-you-go medical care a near impossibility.

    Reply
  20. darMA

    “we’re going to eventually find out all kinds of new government intrusions were included in them.”

    This is the thing that concerns me. Who knows what else is in there or will be added as they go along “perfecting it”. Supposedly you have to pay a fine if you have no health insurance. If, as it certainly appears, they want everybody on statins whether they need them or not, what if they up the ante to demanding everyone be on statins or lose their insurance?? Or lower their BMI and lose their insurance? On numerous forums I’ve seen reports already of people being denied insurance because of higher than recommended cholesterol. Between fining those uninsured because they’re not following the “rules” of their new insurance and taxing the hell out of all the healthy whole foods because they contain the “artery clogging” fats, the government is going to have a whole lot more of our money. Therefore people will have to eat the GMO grains & soy because that’s all that will eventually be affordable and “approved”. Lordy, this stuff gets me all riled up very easily.

    It should rile you up. We’re on a way to a system where 1) they confiscate a huge chunk of your money, 2) make private insurance impossible to afford, 3) offer you “free” government insurance (paid for with the money they confiscated from you), but only if you follow their guidelines for healthy living.

    Reply
  21. Janet

    With the recent BMI flap, I pulled my medical records to take a look at the BMI’s recorded there. Apparently the staff in my doctor’s office calculate the number only once. My documented BMI has not changed from the original calculation although my weight has decreased by 25 lb over the course of those records. The boilerplate physician notes continue to read “denies weight loss”. If they bothered to recalculate, the BMI would be in the underweight range. There are other blatant errors (lies) in the record. accounting for “defensive documentation” by the doc, but that is an issue for a different soap box with me.

    I doubt that our government will ever realize that records (especially medical records) are only as reliable as those who keep them and their motivations. We don’t know what the payoff will be for collecting BMI info will be, but we can look to the e-prescribe program for some clues. Docs who e-prescribe are compensated a percentage of their billing at the end of the year for feeding your prescription medication records into the system where they are accessed by government agencies, pharmas, statisticians of all kinds, and possibly the UN. Facilities earn “Gold Star Awards” for following certain protocols in prescribing and management of specific groups of patients (no matter what those patients really need). This is all backed up by an industry that dedicated to “compliance packaging” and is lobbying for all medications to be dispensed in this way. “We are just trying to help you with compliance” is their mantra. They are starting with diabetic meds and psychiatric meds (that is scary!!). I feel sure that lipid numbers and statin prescriptions will be next. This packaging starts with dated bubble pack cards of meds, progresses to incorporating electronic strips on the bubbles to track compliance of the user, recording date and time each dose is taken, and finally to sensor packs with bluetooth connections so the user is called or paged to find out why they didn’t take the dose, if one is missed. (I assume they will call 911 to respond to and overdose, if you punch all the bubbles at the same time.)

    Don’t you feel like an unwelcome family member (big brother) is unpacking his stuff on your driveway right now? Maybe this is part of the stimulus plan to create thousands of jobs calculating and recording BMIs and manning phone banks to monitor pill packs!

    And for anyone reading who thinks we sound like a bunch of paranoid nuts when we say the government wants to dictate medical treatments instead of leaving it up to the doctors, here are a few choice quotes from Obama’s new head of Medicare/Medicaid:

    “Young doctors and nurses should emerge from training understanding the values of standardization and the risks of too great an emphasis on individual autonomy.”

    “I would place a commitment to excellence—standardization to the best-known method—above clinician autonomy as a rule for care.”

    These are people with a dictate-from-the-top mentality.

    Reply
  22. Dan

    I almost puked when I saw Meme’s picture on the blog. 🙂 Good to see they had a sensible opposing viewpoint. Insanity is doing the same thing over & over again and expecting different results. The government has been insane for some time now.

    Big brother is at it again. I’ll admit to being a little overweight, but NOT obese as my BMI implies. If I got down to a “normal BMI,” I’d be nothing but skin and bones. It’s just more technobabble.

    To get my BMI to a level that would make Meme and the government happy, I’d have to lose another 25 pounds. Not likely.

    Reply
  23. Tim

    If I never visit a doctor again, they can’t get my BMI and other info in the system……hmmm can this whole foods-Paleo living do the trick? I need to watch for buses so I don’t get smacked.

    This certainly makes me want to avoid doctors.

    Reply
  24. Dan

    I think BMI is a croc and that requiring you to give medical information to the feds is intrusive but I would definitely recommend public health care. The health care in Canada is far from perfect but it’s nice to know you don’t have to worry about losing your home or having to take out a loan whenever you get sick or have an accident. Of course maybe I only hear about the horror stories coming from the US and that health care is affordable as is and people rarely get dropped from their insurance company.

    You hear horror stories about people losing their homes, we hear horror stories about Canadians dying while waiting for treatment. Sad fact is, there’s no good way to pay for health care when such a high proportion of the population is becoming diabetic and sick.

    Given the fact that our government helped spark the obesity and diabetes problems, continues to recommend exactly the wrong diet, is clearly corrupt when it comes to food sudsidies, pharmaceutical issues, etc., the last thing I want is for them to run the whole system. Treatment will be designed around which big pharma company did the best bribing/loggying job, and the cost will go way up, not down. Governments can cap prices, but not costs … those are two different things.

    Reply
  25. Dave

    According to the CDC BMI calculator, my son is “obese” and my daughter “extremely obese”. I have a suspicion that at our her school-mandated checkup last year, the doctor took a look at the BMI for my daughter and had his whole childhood obesity speech worked up. I say this because after walking in the room, he seemed flustered, and kept repeating “I’m not worried about her weight, she’s obviously very healthy”.

    Are we talking about the son I met last year when you were in Burbank?! If that kid is obese, then so is my wife.

    Reply
  26. Todd S.

    The sad truth is that obese people are indeed costing me more. But government is the reason, not the solution. If we weren’t forced into collectivized medical subscription plans (which are inaccurately termed “health insurance”) we wouldn’t have this issue. Even before the “Obamacare” bill, government regulations made pay-as-you-go medical care a near impossibility.

    Reply
  27. darMA

    “we’re going to eventually find out all kinds of new government intrusions were included in them.”

    This is the thing that concerns me. Who knows what else is in there or will be added as they go along “perfecting it”. Supposedly you have to pay a fine if you have no health insurance. If, as it certainly appears, they want everybody on statins whether they need them or not, what if they up the ante to demanding everyone be on statins or lose their insurance?? Or lower their BMI and lose their insurance? On numerous forums I’ve seen reports already of people being denied insurance because of higher than recommended cholesterol. Between fining those uninsured because they’re not following the “rules” of their new insurance and taxing the hell out of all the healthy whole foods because they contain the “artery clogging” fats, the government is going to have a whole lot more of our money. Therefore people will have to eat the GMO grains & soy because that’s all that will eventually be affordable and “approved”. Lordy, this stuff gets me all riled up very easily.

    It should rile you up. We’re on a way to a system where 1) they confiscate a huge chunk of your money, 2) make private insurance impossible to afford, 3) offer you “free” government insurance (paid for with the money they confiscated from you), but only if you follow their guidelines for healthy living.

    Reply
  28. Amy Dungan

    Meme Roth has the most annoying voice… I play her video clips and my dogs howl.

    She can’t seriously believe that overweight people don’t know they are overweight. We have people in this country who are not overweight that think they are overweight, but the opposite? I highly doubt it. What few there may be aren’t dangerously overweight. It’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror or get on the scale and not notice several extra pounds. Most of us don’t wear the “reality blinders” that Meme seems to favor.

    Meme thinks most people are stupid. She’s pretty much come out and said as much.

    Reply
  29. Fred Tully

    http://www.windsorstar.com/health/Researcher+casts+light+obesity+paradox+heart+patients/3309166/story.html?cid=meg

    So the BMI is only correct for 59% of the people, the majority. One more example of group think, mob rule, or new, simpler, and less correct way than the old life insurance tables

    Anyone with decent muscle development who doesn’t happen to have very low bodyfat is going to be classified as overweight by BMI. Glad to see some doctors are figuring that out.

    Reply
  30. Katy

    I had a friend who was morbidly obese, and there were occasions where people would walk right up to him and tell him so. He’d look down at himself in mock shock and holler, “OH MY GOD, WHERE DID ALL OF THAT COME FROM?? HELP!! HELP!! I’VE BEEN INVADED BY THE FAT MONSTER!!!”

    I feel truly sorry for the babies and little children who are chubby, because the idiot adults around them more than likely have succumbed to the idiot notion that baby fat will transform into adult fat. And the idea that thin children will be thin adults is nonsense as well. I knew a fat-phobic kook who literally starved her children as they were growing up, giving them one pancake for breakfast, skim milk when they were infants, etc. They were less-than-stick thin. 30+ years later: I just saw them all a couple of months ago–and they’re just as fat as the rest of the U.S.; even Mom was obese!

    Unfortunately, the Mom probably just ended up giving them depressed metabolisms.

    Reply
  31. Janet

    With the recent BMI flap, I pulled my medical records to take a look at the BMI’s recorded there. Apparently the staff in my doctor’s office calculate the number only once. My documented BMI has not changed from the original calculation although my weight has decreased by 25 lb over the course of those records. The boilerplate physician notes continue to read “denies weight loss”. If they bothered to recalculate, the BMI would be in the underweight range. There are other blatant errors (lies) in the record. accounting for “defensive documentation” by the doc, but that is an issue for a different soap box with me.

    I doubt that our government will ever realize that records (especially medical records) are only as reliable as those who keep them and their motivations. We don’t know what the payoff will be for collecting BMI info will be, but we can look to the e-prescribe program for some clues. Docs who e-prescribe are compensated a percentage of their billing at the end of the year for feeding your prescription medication records into the system where they are accessed by government agencies, pharmas, statisticians of all kinds, and possibly the UN. Facilities earn “Gold Star Awards” for following certain protocols in prescribing and management of specific groups of patients (no matter what those patients really need). This is all backed up by an industry that dedicated to “compliance packaging” and is lobbying for all medications to be dispensed in this way. “We are just trying to help you with compliance” is their mantra. They are starting with diabetic meds and psychiatric meds (that is scary!!). I feel sure that lipid numbers and statin prescriptions will be next. This packaging starts with dated bubble pack cards of meds, progresses to incorporating electronic strips on the bubbles to track compliance of the user, recording date and time each dose is taken, and finally to sensor packs with bluetooth connections so the user is called or paged to find out why they didn’t take the dose, if one is missed. (I assume they will call 911 to respond to and overdose, if you punch all the bubbles at the same time.)

    Don’t you feel like an unwelcome family member (big brother) is unpacking his stuff on your driveway right now? Maybe this is part of the stimulus plan to create thousands of jobs calculating and recording BMIs and manning phone banks to monitor pill packs!

    And for anyone reading who thinks we sound like a bunch of paranoid nuts when we say the government wants to dictate medical treatments instead of leaving it up to the doctors, here are a few choice quotes from Obama’s new head of Medicare/Medicaid:

    “Young doctors and nurses should emerge from training understanding the values of standardization and the risks of too great an emphasis on individual autonomy.”

    “I would place a commitment to excellence—standardization to the best-known method—above clinician autonomy as a rule for care.”

    These are people with a dictate-from-the-top mentality.

    Reply
  32. Dan

    I almost puked when I saw Meme’s picture on the blog. 🙂 Good to see they had a sensible opposing viewpoint. Insanity is doing the same thing over & over again and expecting different results. The government has been insane for some time now.

    Big brother is at it again. I’ll admit to being a little overweight, but NOT obese as my BMI implies. If I got down to a “normal BMI,” I’d be nothing but skin and bones. It’s just more technobabble.

    To get my BMI to a level that would make Meme and the government happy, I’d have to lose another 25 pounds. Not likely.

    Reply
  33. Tim

    If I never visit a doctor again, they can’t get my BMI and other info in the system……hmmm can this whole foods-Paleo living do the trick? I need to watch for buses so I don’t get smacked.

    This certainly makes me want to avoid doctors.

    Reply
  34. Kelly

    I found out about the Massachusetts initiative a little more than a year ago because we work with an organization that is involved through a government contract. Even though it was confidential, I did discuss it quietly with a friend of mine who is educated in nutrition and health and detests the BMI. She was as mad as I was.

    (As a side note, she is very much about conventional wisdom and I recently loaned her my copy of Fat Head. So interested to see if it changes her viewpoint at all!)

    I actually edited some materials the organization distributed to physicians informing them about the initiative and I just wanted to write back and say, Stop! Don’t do it!

    Well, now the program is out there and I’m so appalled that it’s being carried out. Since kids (esp, I think, girls) don’t have enough negative media telling them they’re not good enough. Now a state-sponsored program is calling them fat. Grrr!

    BMI is such a farce. And it’s even more of a farce when applied to kids.

    Let’s give this program a few years, then we can watch the media stories about the epidemics of anorexia and bulimia.

    Reply
  35. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener

    I could care less about my doctor reporting my BMI, I know he has been calculating it and showing me my location on the chart at each of my physicals. Given I am naturally muscular and have a large frame (actually measured not just saying “I am big boned” to make myself feel better) Staying somewhere in the middle of the overweight range is a good place for me.

    The obvious problem is BMI does not take these factors into account (well mentioned in Fat Head) and smart parents should know this and ignore the info and continue on. I feel sorry for the not as smart parents that put their kids on a diet so they lose that pesky lean muscle and develop some unforeseen behavior issues from malnutrition. Next report card, “Good news your kid is no longer obese, but now has attention problems and is complaining about being hungry all day…”

    I do recall in high school getting my body fat calculated with calipers, though I knew I was fat and didn’t really need a number to rank it. I am sure the hamburgers for lunch with 3 times the bread than meat and my side choice of fries or fries in the cafeteria probably was not helping…

    The Law of Unintended Consequences will kick in. Parents will panic, put kids on semi-starvation diets, and screw up their metabolisms for good.

    Reply
  36. Dan

    I think BMI is a croc and that requiring you to give medical information to the feds is intrusive but I would definitely recommend public health care. The health care in Canada is far from perfect but it’s nice to know you don’t have to worry about losing your home or having to take out a loan whenever you get sick or have an accident. Of course maybe I only hear about the horror stories coming from the US and that health care is affordable as is and people rarely get dropped from their insurance company.

    You hear horror stories about people losing their homes, we hear horror stories about Canadians dying while waiting for treatment. Sad fact is, there’s no good way to pay for health care when such a high proportion of the population is becoming diabetic and sick.

    Given the fact that our government helped spark the obesity and diabetes problems, continues to recommend exactly the wrong diet, is clearly corrupt when it comes to food sudsidies, pharmaceutical issues, etc., the last thing I want is for them to run the whole system. Treatment will be designed around which big pharma company did the best bribing/loggying job, and the cost will go way up, not down. Governments can cap prices, but not costs … those are two different things.

    Reply
  37. Dave

    According to the CDC BMI calculator, my son is “obese” and my daughter “extremely obese”. I have a suspicion that at our her school-mandated checkup last year, the doctor took a look at the BMI for my daughter and had his whole childhood obesity speech worked up. I say this because after walking in the room, he seemed flustered, and kept repeating “I’m not worried about her weight, she’s obviously very healthy”.

    Are we talking about the son I met last year when you were in Burbank?! If that kid is obese, then so is my wife.

    Reply
  38. Katy

    Also, why is that parents have to “opt out” of the BMI reporting? And again, the issue of overweight in children is not black and white. Depending on the rate of growth, a child could be overweight for a few months and then grow a few inches. Labeling children like this is harmful. If a child truly has a chronic problem, then the school could possibly recommend to the parents that the child see a doctor.

    I think if the child is chronically overweight, the parents have already noticed and it’s none of the school’s business. Their job is teach my kid reading, writing, math, history and science, not track her BMI for me.

    Reply
  39. monasmee

    “A meme is a unit of cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena.” “Memes spread through the behaviors that they generate in their hosts. Memes that propagate less prolifically may become extinct, while others may survive, spread, and (for better or for worse) mutate. Theorists point out that memes which replicate the most effectively spread best, and some memes may replicate effectively even when they prove detrimental to the welfare of their hosts.” Wikipedia

    Guess the name fits.

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  40. Jesrad

    “As you can see, Meme Roth is still disguising her disdain for fat people as a financial issue. If you’re fat, it costs her money, doncha know, so now it’s her business.”

    Aaaah, but I thought the WHOLE POINT of socializing healthcare was that actually passing the costs of some onto the others was a GOOD thing ?! Now I’m confused.

    Sure, Meme’s happy to support socialized medicine, but only if everyone is as skinny and healthy as she is.

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  41. Amy Dungan

    Meme Roth has the most annoying voice… I play her video clips and my dogs howl.

    She can’t seriously believe that overweight people don’t know they are overweight. We have people in this country who are not overweight that think they are overweight, but the opposite? I highly doubt it. What few there may be aren’t dangerously overweight. It’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror or get on the scale and not notice several extra pounds. Most of us don’t wear the “reality blinders” that Meme seems to favor.

    Meme thinks most people are stupid. She’s pretty much come out and said as much.

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  42. Fred Tully

    http://www.windsorstar.com/health/Researcher+casts+light+obesity+paradox+heart+patients/3309166/story.html?cid=meg

    So the BMI is only correct for 59% of the people, the majority. One more example of group think, mob rule, or new, simpler, and less correct way than the old life insurance tables

    Anyone with decent muscle development who doesn’t happen to have very low bodyfat is going to be classified as overweight by BMI. Glad to see some doctors are figuring that out.

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  43. Andrew

    Has it occurred to anyone else that pretty much the entirety of our Armed Forces are now fat according to these guidelines? I think you can and should make the argument that the new Dietary Guidelines are a danger to national security since they mandate that we turn our military into a bunch of sick weaklings…

    Good point. My nephew is in the Army (soon to report for Ranger tryouts), and he’s a strong, muscular kid, almost certainly overweight according to the BMI scale.

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  44. Shelley

    I can’t tell you how upset this makes me. You point out that parents of overweight kids know their kids are overweight. Well, the same is true of the kids themselves – they know it! What is this? Some kind of scheme to shame kids into losing weight?! Trust me, due to teasing on the playground, a lot of these kids already feel bad about themselves. I was overweight as a kid and had an awful, awful time. Feeling shamed didn’t help me one little bit. This is wrong on so many levels. And when kids grow, they do it in spurts. First out (storing energy I guess) and then up (seemingly cm’s overnight). I don’t even live in the US and this makes me furious!

    It should make you furious. I was deeply ashamed of my belly and (especially) boy-boobs as an adolescent, and more shaming wouldn’t have done anything, except perhaps make feel suicidal.

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  45. Katy

    I had a friend who was morbidly obese, and there were occasions where people would walk right up to him and tell him so. He’d look down at himself in mock shock and holler, “OH MY GOD, WHERE DID ALL OF THAT COME FROM?? HELP!! HELP!! I’VE BEEN INVADED BY THE FAT MONSTER!!!”

    I feel truly sorry for the babies and little children who are chubby, because the idiot adults around them more than likely have succumbed to the idiot notion that baby fat will transform into adult fat. And the idea that thin children will be thin adults is nonsense as well. I knew a fat-phobic kook who literally starved her children as they were growing up, giving them one pancake for breakfast, skim milk when they were infants, etc. They were less-than-stick thin. 30+ years later: I just saw them all a couple of months ago–and they’re just as fat as the rest of the U.S.; even Mom was obese!

    Unfortunately, the Mom probably just ended up giving them depressed metabolisms.

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  46. Kelly

    I found out about the Massachusetts initiative a little more than a year ago because we work with an organization that is involved through a government contract. Even though it was confidential, I did discuss it quietly with a friend of mine who is educated in nutrition and health and detests the BMI. She was as mad as I was.

    (As a side note, she is very much about conventional wisdom and I recently loaned her my copy of Fat Head. So interested to see if it changes her viewpoint at all!)

    I actually edited some materials the organization distributed to physicians informing them about the initiative and I just wanted to write back and say, Stop! Don’t do it!

    Well, now the program is out there and I’m so appalled that it’s being carried out. Since kids (esp, I think, girls) don’t have enough negative media telling them they’re not good enough. Now a state-sponsored program is calling them fat. Grrr!

    BMI is such a farce. And it’s even more of a farce when applied to kids.

    Let’s give this program a few years, then we can watch the media stories about the epidemics of anorexia and bulimia.

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  47. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener

    I could care less about my doctor reporting my BMI, I know he has been calculating it and showing me my location on the chart at each of my physicals. Given I am naturally muscular and have a large frame (actually measured not just saying “I am big boned” to make myself feel better) Staying somewhere in the middle of the overweight range is a good place for me.

    The obvious problem is BMI does not take these factors into account (well mentioned in Fat Head) and smart parents should know this and ignore the info and continue on. I feel sorry for the not as smart parents that put their kids on a diet so they lose that pesky lean muscle and develop some unforeseen behavior issues from malnutrition. Next report card, “Good news your kid is no longer obese, but now has attention problems and is complaining about being hungry all day…”

    I do recall in high school getting my body fat calculated with calipers, though I knew I was fat and didn’t really need a number to rank it. I am sure the hamburgers for lunch with 3 times the bread than meat and my side choice of fries or fries in the cafeteria probably was not helping…

    The Law of Unintended Consequences will kick in. Parents will panic, put kids on semi-starvation diets, and screw up their metabolisms for good.

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  48. Katy

    Also, why is that parents have to “opt out” of the BMI reporting? And again, the issue of overweight in children is not black and white. Depending on the rate of growth, a child could be overweight for a few months and then grow a few inches. Labeling children like this is harmful. If a child truly has a chronic problem, then the school could possibly recommend to the parents that the child see a doctor.

    I think if the child is chronically overweight, the parents have already noticed and it’s none of the school’s business. Their job is teach my kid reading, writing, math, history and science, not track her BMI for me.

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  49. The Dude

    Not that I agree with this at all, but wouldn’t recording a person’s body fat percentage be a better indicator of their “overweight-ness?” You would think our government has someone in power who knows that BMI is completely bogus.
    Sure, BFP still doesn’t imply any overall health, but its a much better measurement of a person’s body fat.

    Or you’d think the powers that be would at least have some “experts” in power who can use Google to find that out. http://lmgtfy.com/?q=is+BMI+accurate

    If of course don’t want them doing either, but yes, body fat would be a more useful measure. However, it won’t happen for two reasons:

    1. Hospitals and doctors’ offices routinely record your height and weight, but not your body fat, which is more complicated.

    2. As I learned while researching Fat Head, several big shots in government have consulting contracts with weight-loss companies and pharmaceutical companies. If having a BMI of over 30 is declared a life-threatening medical condition, the drugs and procedures those companies sell will probably end up being covered by insurance and Medicare. So it’s in their interest to have as many people declared obese as possible … just like it was in the interest of the NCEP to have cholesterol over 200 categorized as too high.

    Reply

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