Vital statistics show 'overweight' women are healthy
New research recently announced at the Royal Society of Medicine (reported in the Times and by the BBC) shows that current methods of measuring obesity have classified thousands of perfectly healthy women as 'dangerously overweight'.
All the recent scaremongering and moralising about alleged 'obesity epidemics' has been based on an inaccurate and inappropriate method of determining healthy weight – the Body Mass Index – which unfairly penalises women for being naturally (and healthily) pear-shaped. Around half the women previously castigated for being overweight, and frightened with dire warnings about the risks and dangers associated with their condition, can now be re-classified as healthy.
Waist measurement, not weight, is confirmed as the most accurate means of assessing health risks, as fat accumulated around the stomach (the 'apple' shape) is associated with increased risk of heart disease and other health problems, while the classic female 'pear shape', with fat stored around the hips and bottom, is safe. The new 'shape chart', dividing waist size by height, is expected to replace the unhelpful weight charts in doctors' surgeries.
Perhaps now we will finally see an end to the obsession with weight-watching which has dominated so-called health education and health promotion for so many years, creating unnecessary guilt and anxiety, and contributing to the rise in eating disorders. Without the support of the health establishment, the diet and slimming industries might at last lose their aura of respectability. An apology from either the over-zealous educators or their beneficiaries in the weight-loss industries would be too much to hope for.