Karl Marx was credited to say: “History repeats itself, first as a tragedy, second as a farce”. Well clear a path for the buffoons at North Andover Massachusetts who call themselves educators.
Ironically just a little more than 300 years ago Andover Mass. was busy playing judge, jury and executioner in the infamous Witch Hunt Trials. Today, it is the schools in North Andover Mass that are making judgments against students with just as much vigor and lack of scientific evidence as in the late 1600’s.
Today, schools in North Andover are on a different kind of “Which Hunt” – specifically, making wild unscientific accusations about “which” kid is fat.
School officials say they are “ just trying to help students fight obesity” by sending children home with a letter. Surprisingly they chose to send children home with an actual letter, and not a Puritan scarlet letter F for FAT stitched onto their clothing.
Obesity is of course a pandemic reality, but here’s the problem. School officials are speculating “which” kid is fat based on the antiquated system known as the Body Mass Index. Body Mass Index or BMI is almost as old as the Witch Trials themselves, the BMI formula was conceived in 1835 by a Belgian mathematician named Adolphe Quetelet. The formula was simply a speculative collection of data from observations specific to very unique population of 1835 Belgian society – soldiers. Yes, BMI was extrapolated by considering data exclusively comprised of young healthy male soldiers in the year 1835 when obesity was certainly not an epidemic or even remotely prevalent, for that matter. Obesity wasn’t even a consideration of Professor Quetelet and his BMI equation was certainly never intended to measure the elderly, women or children in any capacity let alone body composition.
inexplicably the international medical community has ubiquitously adopted BMI a gauge of obesity?
Yet BMI doesn’t measure fat.
If there is anywhere in this story where witchcraft is needed it’s here, BMI somehow magically has been interpreted to suggest that if you are X tall, then you should weigh Y, regardless whether you are a man, women or child… athlete, aged or de-conditioned?
Unfortunately, the epidemic of obesity is not an illusion it is a real problem in America and growing worldwide.
If the definition of obesity is the accumulation of excess fat to the extent that individuals health is jeopardized, then why isn’t fat or more accurately our body fat percentage exactly what we are measuring?
Are we to assume that America, the self proclaimed, most advanced nation in the world is incapable of measuring human body composition in the year 2013?
The sad truth is BMI misdiagnoses 48% of women and 25% of men, does that sound like science?
It gets worse; all of the statistics that report the Nations current obesity estimates and the projection that 44% of the Nation will be obese by 2030 are actually grossly underestimated. Why? Because BMI does not account for overwhelming incidence of “skinny-fat” whereby a significant portion of the population erroneously fall under BMI’s “healthy weight” category. This describes individuals who are in fact clinically obese by body fat standards but they in turn have such limited amounts of lean body mass (muscle) BMI suggest they are somehow considered healthy because of total weight x height?
How much a person weighs is largely irrelevant – instead what a person’s body composition consists of is of paramount importance. Virtually every professional athlete on the planet will fail a BMI test because muscle (lean body mass) is a dense tissue. Obsessing over BMI or scale weight, which tells us nothing but the sum of our parts and focusing on BMI or scale weight does so much damage to the psyche it actually acts as a deterrent for people to actually improve body composition by going to the gym and lifting weights– because scale weight will go up despite that adding lean muscle mass is the greatest metabolic advancement to combat obesity.
There are only three ways for an obese person to achieve a healthy body fat percentage: 1 – Lose excess fat, 2- Increase lean muscle mass, 3 – both.
What is shocking is the number of charlatans and self-proclaimed experts in the health and fitness industry that rely on BMI and are obviously too stupid to know better and continue to regurgitate falsities and simplified solutions like its a simple matter of the calories in v calories used (the charlatans fail to recognize that the term calorie is just another non descriptive unit of measure like weight to which they illogically assume all foods must somehow be created equal), or the eat less and exercise more notion or the ridiculous idea that if you consume 3500 less calories over time you will somehow miraculously lose one pound of fat… and not an ounce of muscle?
TV Shows like the Biggest Loser that focus on scale weight, starvation and deprivation along with equally unimpressive TV personalities that play all knowing doctors operating thinly disguised infomercials only perpetuate the myths and misconceptions that impede the achievement of a healthy body fat composition.
Don’t believe me? Ask yourself this simple question: How come the Biggest Loser TV shows after all those seasons has never had a reunion show demonstrating the long term success of their unrealistic and impossible to maintain lifestyle ?
The truth is, the only permanent “weight-loss” solution comes as a result of a chainsaw mishap. America doesn’t have a weight problem, America doesn’t have a height problem, America has a FAT problem and that is precisely what we need to measure. Everyone should know what a healthy body fat percentage is and how to achieve it.
The letters the North Andover School system are handing out are incredibly damaging and only ingrain the unhealthy mindset that actually deters student athletic pursuits and healthy eating rich in “essential” nutrients like omega 3 fatty acids.
Please join me in the 21st century, it is time to abolish BMI and adopt body fat percentage as a reliable gauge of health. Highly accurate multi-signal bio-impedance devices are affordable and accurate, even waist circumference is a much better gauge than BMI to accurately diagnose serious conditions like metabolic syndrome (muffin top) that would identify the dangerous accumulation of excess fat around the midsection as precursor to obesity, diabetes and the symptoms of a toxic and failing liver resultant from the excess consumption of processed carbohydrates.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health says that parents can opt their child out of Body Mass Index screening – finally something intelligent that not only the students should opt out of but the entire Nation.
AbolishBMI.com coming soon – please stay tuned and sign the petition.
© 2013 – Copyrights Grant Roberts, All Rights Reserved