Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Are we really getting fatter?

It's pretty much accepted by most people that Americans are getting fatter and fatter each day.  Leno laughs about it almost nightly.  There are a lot of trends in America that lend credence to that assertion.  Kids are playing more video games than outdoor games.  Grown-ups are doing less manual labor.  And, even housework is less physically demanding that usual.  Meanwhile, greasy fast food is more and more readily available.  So, no one is really shocked by the assertion that Americans are getting fatter by the minute.

However, is the American condition really as bleak as all that?  Sure, Americans could stand to exercise more and eat fewer fries, but perhaps our proportions are being blown out of proportion.  Perhaps, more Americans are overweight or obese due to the way that the government now calculates these categories.

One of the leading methods for calculating your weight category is the BMI.  If your BMI is 18.5-24.9, you are considered normal in weight.  If your BMI is 25.0-29.9 then you are overweight.  If your BMI is 30.0+ then you are obese.

To test my theory, I decided to put a few world-class athletes' statistics into the BMI calculator and see how they turned out.

Kobe Bryant:  Overweight (BMI 25.4)  Guard for the LA Lakers
Yao Ming:  Overweight (BMI 26.9)  Center for the Houston Rockets
Scott Stevens:  Overweight (BMI 27.6)  Defenseman for the New Jersey Devils
Jaromir Jagr:  Overweight (BMI 28)  Right Winger for the New York Rangers
John Ruiz:  Overweight (BMI 29.0)  WBC Heavyweight Champion of the World
Roger Clemens:  Overweight (BMI 28.6)  Pitcher for the Houston Astros
Ivan Rodriguez:  Obese (BMI 32.5)  Catcher for the Detroit Tigers
Priest Holmes:  Obese (BMI 31.5)  Running Back for the Kansas City Chiefs
Ray Lewis:  Obese (BMI 32.3)  Linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens

So, if you and your friends and neighbors are all falling into the overweight or obese categories, you'll know you're in good company.  Too bad we can't all run 4.4 40's like the obese Mr. Lewis.