Punching Above My Weight

So I was fool enough enough to click on a BBC widget titled, Where are you on the global fat scale? I put my details in, only to discover it’s a BMI calculator that places your result in the context of countries’ average BMI scores. I am 5’7″ and weigh c. 199 lb. And this is what it said:

“BMI 31”. I’ve put some weight on since I last used this idiotic measurement scale, so this is expected. But here’s where it gets fun: the explanation of BMI under this results box says: “BMI is an estimate of how “overweight” or “obese” a person is.” So, this isn’t going to be any kind of ego massage; you’re a fat bastard.

The next result: National. “You have a higher BMI that 98% of males aged 15-29 in your country.” What!? 98%? Are you serious? I’m in the heaviest 2% of the population? I take a 34″ waist band, for crying out loud…

Global, now: “You have a higher BMI than 99% of males aged 15-29 in the world.” Okay, I can believe this, if only on the basis that the world is made up of places where there isn’t an awful lot of money for food.

Finally, and this one takes the biscuit: “Did you know? If everyone in the world had the same BMI as you, it would add 90,115,609 tonnes to the total weight of the world’s population.” Well, thanks BBC, that makes me feel really good about myself. Basically, I’ve just been told in 3 different ways that I’m a fat bastard. Brilliant. At the bottom of the page is a graph putting my BMI against the average of many of the world’s countries, with the words, “You are most like someone from Micronesia.” Here’s a picture of some Micronesian dudes:

Source: http://www.janesoceania.com/micronesia_yap/

Actually, my build isn’t awfully far off, if I’m honest.

So what does it mean? Well, I’m not fretting, because I do have a fair bit of muscle density, and that throws BMI wildly off as a measurement of body fat. Muscle is heavier than fat, so a well-muscled athlete with little body fat can still be “obese”. Furthermore, obesity is defined as being a mere 28lb overweight. And the ideal weight for a male of my height is somewhere in the region of 160lb. Incidentally, being 160lb would make you heavier than 54% of the UK population. (Are short guys usually a bit on the shrimpy side?)

Considered outside this virtually useless measuring tool, I’m still overweight. My girth was only just the right side of “healthy” last time I had a general checkup, so I’m either flirting with or just over the “medically tubby” line now. I could stand to lose a few pounds. But weight is a silly thing to obsess over as it bears no resemblance to a healthy look for a given individual. So I’m going by boxing weight divisions. I’m currently the top end of cruiserweight. Let’s try for the bottom.

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~ by Scary Rob on 16 July, 2012.

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