Wednesday, March 9, 2011

zOMG... you're all obese!

I read about this yesterday. They have a new method they want to use for measuring obesity, called the Body-Adiposity Index. Now it hit me today, that if they do this, every woman on the planet will be obese. Isn't that what the pharmaceutical companies want? I hear there's a huge market for diet pills.

This method is so flawed, on multiple levels. First of all, it doesn't take into account Lipodystrophy, where body fat is stored in a particular location and not evenly throughout the body. I've seen men with humongous beer bellies that wear size 30 pants because their bellies hang out over their pants. Their hips are normal. So with this method of measurement, they'd not be overweight.

This method of measuring obesity sounds as much, if not more so, codswallop as using Body Mass Index as measurement.

I think measuring people in certain multiple locations could give a better idea about obesity, but not by merely measuring their hips. And I'm sure that even that would be flawed in the case of body builders. BAI is obviously very flawed in the case of men, who typically do not store fat in the hips. The storage of fat is driven by hormones, insulin and the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone. According to the measurements you're supposed to get with BAI, they've taken into account that men's hips are supposed to be smaller... maybe absurdly so.

The interesting thing is, the mum-in-law, hubby and I calculated our BAI using the formula given on various websites which is [hips in cm / ( height in m^1.5)] - 18. When we did the math, I came out with the number 32.08, the mum-in-law had 31.49 and the hubby had 26.07. I had a difficult time finding what the ranges were for normal, overweight and obese, but the one site I found that gave them says that I'm slightly over-weight, and that the mum-in-law is nearly so. Which is utter codswallop. She looks like a perfectly normal weight, and if you use the BMI she is, with a BMI of 22.5. My BMI is 26.6, which is reasonable, as I'm still a little overweight. I could definitely stand to lose another twenty pounds and am working on it.

Now we get to my husband. According to this silly equation he's obese. More codswallop. Men have more muscle mass than women (muscle is denser than fat), even if they don't lift weights, and he does not look obese. He looks overweight to be sure and could definitely stand to lose some weight, but if he had the numbers they want, he'd have to look like a skeleton to do it. To be in the middle of the normal range using the BAI he would have to lose 20 cm, or 7.8 inches. I don't think he could lose that much in his hips, as most of the extra weight he's carrying is in his stomach (like with so many males) and he's got a very large frame to begin with.

Just as with BMI, the BAI doesn't take into account body type or skeletal frame, and is therefore flawed. Honestly though, the true measure of health should have little to do with weight. I believe that blood glucose levels would give you a better image of how healthy someone is rather than how much body fat they have or don't have. This is something that Dr. Eades implies in Fat Head, when she says that the hardest person to make realize that they need to change the way they eat is the one that has metabolic syndrome/elevated blood glucose, and yet their weight is normal.

No comments:

Post a Comment