The report puts New Zealand's obesity rate at 26.5 per cent in 2007, Mexico was at 30 per cent in 2006 and the United States led with 34.3 per cent of its population classed as obese in 2006. The latest figure for Australia was 21.7 per cent in 1999."
Estimates relate to the adult population (normally the population aged 15+ unless otherwise stated) and are based on national health interview surveys for most countries (self-reported data), except for Australia, the Czech Republic (since 2005), Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, the Slovak Republic (since 2004), the United Kingdom and the United States where estimates are based on the actual measurement of weight and height. This difference in survey methodologies limits data comparability, as estimates arising from the actual measurement of weight and height are significantly higher than those based on self-report.
- Overweight is defined as a BMI between 25 and 30 kg/m² (25≤ BMI <30>So much so straighforward, right? Wrong. First of all, even by the report's authors' own description the "obesity rate" includes both overweight and obese. This is a rather convenient way to, ahem, overload your figures. But there's a more significant concerdn, and that's with the bullshit index itself.
- The person who dreamed up the BMI said explicitly that it could not and should not be used to indicate the level of fatness in an individual.
- It is scientifically nonsensical.
- It is physiologically wrong.
- It gets the logic wrong.
- It's bad statistics.
- It is lying by scientific authority.
- It suggests there are distinct categories of underweight, ideal, overweight and obese, with sharp boundaries that hinge on a decimal place.
- It makes the more cynical members of society suspect that the medical insurance industry lobbies for the continued use of the BMI to keep their profits high [or that professional lobbyists ensure their continued use to support nonsense like this].
- Continued reliance on the BMI means doctors don't feel the need to use one of the more scientifically sound methods that are available to measure obesity levels.
- It embarrasses [wealthy countries like] the U.S.
And chances are, too, that the more self-responsible you are then the leaner, healthier and fitter you are (which, ironically, can actually raise your BMI).
So if the nett effect of banning stupidity is to fill the world with fools and fat bastards, (to paraphrase a famous saying just slightly), why not just stop the bans and try self-responsibility instead.
UPDATE 1:The Onion saw all this coming in August 2000: Hershey's Ordered to Pay Obese Americans $135 Billion.
"This is a vindication for myself and all chocolate victims," said Beaumont, TX, resident Earl Hoffler, holding a picture of his wife Emily, who in 1998 succumbed to obesity after nearly 40 years of chocoholism.
All New Zealand residents will be required to register with the Body Mass Index Safety Authority. Those at risk will be encouraged to attend programmes carefully designed to train clients to adopt a less damaging lifestyle. Advertising of products with a high caloric content is a significant factor in inducing young people to consume harmful foods. This advertising will be banned. Government funding, through the EatSmart brand, will be available to compensate for any losses this may cause. To assist in offsetting the high cost of treatment of fat-related disease, a calorie tax will be introduced. To assist in offsetting the high cost of collecting the calorie tax, a salt tax will also be introduced.Read on here.
All persons involved in the cooking or preparation of food will be required to submit samples to the Food Quality & Composition Commission. This will ensure that every meal adequately meets the prescribed conditions. To assist in the identification of suitable foods, a useful diagram has been developed & will be distributed to every household in the country. The Healthy Eating Swastika has four branches illustrating the four acceptable types of food. For example, an excellent meal may consist of muesli, broccoli, prunes & mung beans. . .
UPDATE 2: Cactus Kate has spotted the problem: It's not how we're eating at all, it's who is eating.
If you are Pacific Islander you are three times as likely to be obese as a European and Maori are twice as likely.
So I'm calling fat on this one. Until Maori and Pacific Islanders can "improve" their statistics in excelling at being fat, I propose a 20% health levy on all pre-tax income derived by Maori tribes such as Tainui and Ngai Tahu, to be tagged for their healthcare. Levying Pacific Islanders is a tad harder as they didn't receive government handouts because of their race, so lets slap a dedicated 20% health levy on all welfare payments and grants made to their communities to be paid into the health fund.
If it's good enough in America for the supposed "wealthy" to be paying more tax to fund obese bludgers (and we know Obama is an idiot), it's good enough in New Zealand for the source of the problems to start paying differentiated tax rates and levies based on their propensity to use services if they can't be made to pay for their own treatment thanks to the overly-generous New Zealand public health system. . .
Government cannot be expected to interfere in the lives of people and tell them they cannot eat foods, and these "5 plus a day" huggy campaigns just do not seem to work for the right people so lets look at it the other way - like insurance companies do. Passing responsibility on based on risk.