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December 28, 2008

Ideal weight or average weight?

I hope you all had a really wonderful and peaceful Christmas and that none of you are worrying about the extra kilo's that may have appeared as a result!

I've been reading a little about the 'obesity epidemic'
. This is based on the inherently flawed Body Mass Index (BMI). I became interested in the BMI when my mother got onto one of those Wii computer games and was told she was overweight. I was so surprised, because she is the healthiest 50-something I know. She eats well and walks plenty and she certainly doesn't look overweight. The BMI also put my seven year old second-cousin in the overweight range, which I also thought was outrageous because he's seven! He still has all his puppy fat!

So I began looking into what the BMI actually means. It's based on a statistical tool invented by a Belgian mathmetician in the 1800's. The tool was never intended to be an indication of health.

Furthermore, in 1998 the US government adopted the World Health Organisation's BMI figures, which are actually based on world wide average weights, not ideal weights for optimum health or longevity. The world averages include significant numbers of malnourished people in Africa and Asia, who are in no way representative of the ideal weight we should all be striving for.

So, before you start that post Christmas crash diet-don't! Chances are that you are perfect the way you are. On the other hand, if you want to start eating more vegetables and wholegrains for health and vitality-by all means do it.

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