Thursday, October 12, 2006

Obesity Is Someone Else

Apparently someone took a bathroom scale out on the streets of London and introduced four men to the concept that they were obese. Their reactions are spectacular. They all deny that they're obese. Not one of them thinks the Body Mass Index might have a point. Three of them happily pose for photos to prove they're not obese, one of them with a cheeseburger in his hand.

Now, I'm not saying they look morbidly obese. Most of them look fine. And nobody's saying the BMI is perfect. It's a universal rule of thumb, and as such it's probably going to be wrong once in a while. And hell, the article says that Brad Pitt is overweight according to his BMI. Whatever we may think of Brad, I don't think any of us want to accept that assessment.

But the wholesale denial was fascinating to me. Had they gone out on the street and weighed women, I wonder what the women would have said? My guess is that many of them would have agreed.

I still remember the day I discovered that I was obese. (I've been a healthy weight for 3 or 4 years now. But that first shock sticks with you.) So I can't say I don't identify with these men. And my coworkers were right behind me in my denial. They said, "Katy, there's no way you're obese." The big-boned argument? Yeah, we tried that. We found a test that used your wrist as a measure of your frame size and then adjusted your target weight accordingly. I was still obese.

But never in my life did it occur to me to publicly revile the BMI while holding a cheeseburger. I love the cheeseburger. That's some serious moxie.

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