Filed Under: Food Police

Practice (And Really Expensive Technology) Makes Perfect

Comparing apples to oranges just doesn’t cut it. In order to describe the difference between the findings of a recent obesity report by the Avon Longitudinal Study and the studies commonly cited by food police like the Center for Science in the Public Interest, one would need to compare apples to protractors. The reason for this mammoth discrepancy can be summed up in three words: Body Mass Index (BMI).BMI, devised two centuries ago, is the measurement used by the federal government and many activists to determine obesity. Unfortunately, the calculation uses height and weight — instead of muscle mass and body fat — to determine a person’s portliness.The method is archaic, but it’s still used because it requires little time and almost no money. Often this crude measurement mistakenly categorizes athletic people like Tom Cruise, Mark McGwire, and Michael Jordan as overweight and obese.Despite knowing the limitations of BMI, obesity scaremongers use it to collect most of their apocalyptic statistics about diet and disease. But the Avon study on obesity and health raised the bar by "using the Lunar Prodigy dual x-ray emission absorptiometry scanner" to measure what BMI ignores: a subject’s muscle mass and body fat.Most Americans don’t know how to pronounce "absorptiometry," but they probably know how to say "physical activity" — the key to obesity according to the study. But we don’t hear the food cops saying either. (Perhaps because "P.E. police" doesn’t sound as cool.)

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