I spotted an article in the BBC News Magazine the other day about the use of the BMI measurement to determine people's status about whether they are; underweight, normal, overweight or obese.
The reporter found some 'men on the street' who were on the fat side and weighed them. Most were 'surprised' to learn that they were obese and gave a series of tired old excuses that they were either 'a good size for their height' or 'big boned' or the old chestnut 'well, muscle's heavier than fat'. All this is, of course, rubbish. Even scarier, there were a number of reader comments backing up these claims and saying that the men looked just fine.
Its not really a surprise to me. As I've mentioned before, as I'm sure others have, when you live in China and return home to the UK everyone (ok, not everyone - there are a large number of shapely Eastern European immigrants) appears enormous.
If the survey is anything to go by, the main problem with obesity in the UK is that people are accustomed to flab. Everyone else is fat so you don't feel fat and convince yourself that the scales are misleading and the BMI scale inapplicable.
This is, clearly, a particularly vicious circle. As people get fatter, fatness becomes more socially acceptable so the pressure to lose weight fades. And the queues at the diabetes clinics get longer and longer.
In order to lose weight, I can recommend a low carb, calorie controlled diet with lots of excercise.
In order to get it into your head that you're not actually 'a good size' but are, in fact, 'fat as a pig' I recommend you move to China.
However, you'd better hurry. Globalisation brings with it KFC, McDonalds and Pizza Hut and a correspondingly high carb diet. Its only a matter of time before "Fat Camp for Kids" starts screening here.
Fortunately I got here just in time. Today marks a loss of 40kg since this time last year. With a BMI of 25.9 I have 4kg to go to reach the top end of a 'normal' weight. It's notable that people here are just beginning to say 'You should stop losing weight or you'll look too thin'. When I was 16kg heavier in July, people in the UK were saying the same thing.