Obesity is a complicated and often discriminated-against medical condition in which being overweight affects one's health. It is a common and significant problem in modern industrialized countries. This of course has led to the inevitable woo-meisters pushing fad diets of every shape and kind, and do-gooders and politicians trying to improve our children's eating habits by such things as banning sodas containing high-fructose corn syrup from school lunchrooms, and revisiting the food
groups pyramid tree plate every year to make tweaks in the recommendations. Obesity has gotten so bad, diseases caused by it kill more people each year than malnutrition (since 2013). Contrary to stereotype, the U.S is not actually the most obese nation in the world.
How to recognise obesity
System of body Condition Scoring
|Emaciated - Goat is extremely thin; no fat is covering the spine and hip bone areas. The tail bone and hip bone are quite pronounced and the individual ribs can be seen.|
|Poor - Goat is still fairly thin. There is little fat covering the spine and hip bone regions. The hips, ribs and tail bone are less prominent.|
|Thin - Ribs are still individually identifiable. There is a little fat covering tail head and spine areas.|
|Borderline - The spine and the ribs can be individually identified by palpation, but feel rounded rather than sharp. Some fat is over the ribs.|
|Moderate - Goat has a good overall appearance. Fat is over the ribs, hips and tail bone areas and feels spongy to the touch.|
|High Moderate - Firm pressure now needs to be applied to feel spinous processes. Fat is observable and palpable over the ribs and tail head area.|
|Good - Animal appears fleshy and obviously carries considerable amount of fat. Very spongy fat covers ribs and tail head areas. Rounds or pones are beginning to become obvious.|
|Fat - Goat is very fleshy and over-conditioned. Spinous and transverse processes are almost impossible to palpate. Rounds or pones are obvious.|
|Extremely Fat (Obese) - Goat appears blocky, tail, head and hips are buried in fatty tissue. Bone structure is barely viable and is not palpable. Animal may have difficulty in mobility.|
Body mass index
The "body mass index" (BMI) is a comparison of height to weight (i.e. if you are 4 feet tall but weigh 140 pounds, you're obese, but if you are 8 feet tall and weigh 140 pounds, then you're severely underweight). It was originally devised as an obesity indicator for populations, and so sometimes produces misleading results for individuals.
BMI scales poorly with height at its extremes, exaggerating thinness in shorter individuals and fatness in taller ones (for example, Yao Ming — 7'6" and 310 lbs — was "overweight" during his All-Star NBA career), and by definition cannot distinguish between muscle and fat (NFL quarterback and 2010 Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers — 6'2" and 225lbs — has an "overweight" BMI of 28.9, just under the 29.9 cutoff for obese). On the other end, it can also underestimate obesity, and up to 30% of people with a "normal" BMI may have the same elevated metabolic risk factors for heart disease and diabetes as those classified as obese. BMI also says nothing about an individual's fitness and activity level.
As a population metric, BMI is meant to be an approximation metric for percentage of body fat. There are more direct tests for body fat percentage, based on body density or bioelectric impedance, but these measurements are more difficult to make or require specialized equipment. Lacking skinfold calipers, a body fat scale, or a massive tank of water, other easy-to-measure metrics, such as waist-to-height ratio or waist-to-hip ratio may be a better gauge to judge health risks of obesity as they appear to correlate more strongly with morbidity and health risks. All of these methods are best used in conjunction with other health indicators, such as age, blood pressure, and so on.
Being within the overweight-but-not-obese range used to be considered as serious a health risk as obesity. However, a 2013 meta-analysis of 2.88 million individuals across 97 studies found that the opposite is true: people who were overweight were 6% less likely to die prematurely than those of normal weight. Even Category 1 obesity (BMI 30-34.9, about 175-200 pounds for someone 5'8" tall) was associated with no elevated risk of death, though Category 2 or higher raised the risk by 30%. This illustrates two things: one, dose matters, for body fat as much as drugs; and two, the optimum BMI range for health is both higher and wider than the optimum for social desirability.
- Fat activism
- Health at every size
- Fast food
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Soylent Green, for the only solution.
- FDA Deputy Commissioner Steve Hoyer resigns due to the obesity crisis (Courtesy of The Onion)
- The Cronut Burger: Ready to lose your appetite?
- This is Why You're Fat: Photos of fast foods from (mostly) non-chain restaurants that could inspire Ronald McDonald to become a vegan.
- "The Ten Most Unusual State Fair Foods": A slideshow documenting America's most notorious forums of artery-hardening "foods." (Warning! The first slide is "Chicken-fried bacon.")
- The KFC "Double Down": Two strips of bacon and two slices of cheese sandwiched between two Kentucky Fried Chicken breast fillets. It has 600 calories, which surprisingly is only 50 calories more than a McDonald's Big Mac.
- See the Wikipedia article on Luther Burger. (A bacon cheeseburger that uses a glazed donut as a bun.) It is rumored to have been created by and named after R&B singer Luther Vandross. Vandross, a long-time sufferer of diabetes and hypertension, died of a stroke at age 54. If this was really one of his favorite foods, should we be surprised?
- Burger King Japan's Windows 7 Whopper: Microsoft isn't looking quite good here.
- Not to be outdone by BK, Japan's Mickey-Ds have offered these nutritious health foods. (Obviously, they are unfamiliar with the work of Morgan Spurlock.)
- The Heart Attack Grill: If you weigh over 350 pounds (159 kg), you can eat all you want for free! (They even have their own YouTube channel.)
- "Paula Deen's Most Outrageous Recipes": In January, 2012, Food Network chef and racist Paula Deen made headlines when she admitted that she had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes three years earlier. What upset many people about her revelation was a combination of (a) her gleefully unhealthy, deep-fried, butter- and sugar-laden signature recipes, like the eight gastrointestinal time bombs in the linked article; (b) the fact that she waited until after she had signed an advertising deal with a diabetes drug manufacturer to go public with her diagnosis; and (c) her incredulity when her fans and fellow TV chefs turned against her. Her son now has a cooking show called Not My Mama's Meals, in which he attempts to make her recipes less artery-clogging.
- Results of University of Texas study from 2013: For every mile that participants in the study lived from the closest fast-food restaurant, researchers noticed that there was a 2.4 percent decrease in their BMI. (Huffington Post)
- "3 Sinister Reasons You're Addicted to Junk Food" (Cracked)
- LSU Agricultural Center
- Can You Be Fat and Fit — or Thin and Unhealthy?
- Obesity Reviews (2012) Mar;13(3):275-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00952.x.
- International Journal of Obesity (2004) 28, 1325-1332.
- Association of All-Cause Mortality With Overweight and Obesity Using Standard Body Mass Index Categories: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis