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Fat No More

We're sure most readers have heard this statistic that's being tossed around: Nearly two-thirds of Americans are overweight and about half of those are considered obese. That fat fact drove the effort against McDonald's "Supersized" menu items and prompted the FTC to consider advertising regulations against the fast food industry (the FTC is going to try self-policing, instead). LINK

But we're confused. If two-thirds of Americans are overweight, doesn't that imply that overweight is now the average, and if overweight is average, then two-thirds aren't overweight?

We realize, of course, that the overweight calculations come from a height-weight test known as the body mass index (the "BMI"). But still: If that many Americans are overweight according to the BMI, perhaps the BMI is too stringent. Perhaps it ought to be relaxed a bit.

It's not pleasant to be fat, and it's even worse when you're scientifically declared–by that BMI thing–to be fat. Is no one looking after our self-esteem?

We say, relax the BMI standards. The BMI says twelve to nineteen percent body fat is good and two-thirds of Americans are over that and therefore overweight? Make it 15%-22%, and that two-thirds figure will drop. It's simple, and a lot easier than dieting and exercising. Self-esteem will rise.

We know it works. We did it with standardized tests in the public schools, and our students are as self-elated as ever.