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News: What Are You On The Global Fat Scale?

August 28, 2012

Wow. So, earlier this week I posted about the “Skinniest State of America” and now I am presented with “The Global Fat Scale Calculator.” I’m kind of getting burnt out on all this, but…

We’re all in this together…right?

BBC News has brought us just what we needed to feel any worse (or better, it depends) about ourselves: A Fat Calculator that compares us to the rest of the world. But how does it work, you ask? Read on:

This calculator is based on research data pulled together by a team of researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Using UN data on population size in 177 countries, together with estimates of global weight from the WHO and mean height from national health examination surveys the team were able to calculate average BMI figures for each country.

Using the values that you input into the calculator, it works out your BMI as well as where you are in relation to the rest of the population in your country and the world for your gender and age.

As with all large data sets, there is a margin of error in this calculation, something statisticians call “standard deviation”. This is indicated on the graph by the faint band either side of your indicated BMI measure.

Whew. So, you can head on over to the site and it will ask for your Age, Gender, Height, Weight, and the Country where you hail from and then it will spit out your BMI (obesity index), the National Average of BMI and how you compare, and the Global Average and how you compare. Then it gives you a great little tidbit (sarcasm), such as:

Did you know?

If everyone in the world had the same BMI as you, it would add 55,931,930 tonnes to the total weight of the world’s population

Ugh great thanks. And then informs you which country you’re most like. Now, this is quite interesting, obviously, but what exactly is the purpose? Are we to take these statistics and use them to work to improve our own health, the health of our community or those that we are compared with? Or is it just an eye-opener to see how we compare to the rest of the world or…a shaming device? I’m just not sure. Either way, I’m intrigued.

(Image courtesy of ScienceBlogs)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sexy Curmudgeon permalink
    September 3, 2012 4:40 pm

    I say shaming device. I think we love to seek out these BMI calculators and read about this stuff, but after reading it, do you ever feel better about yourself? Not that everything needs to be about feeling good, I’m happy to have someone give me the real statistics on obesity and malnutrition across the world, but I don’t think sticking my own BMI into the equation is helping anyone.

  2. Amanda permalink
    November 23, 2012 6:52 pm

    I agree with the person above who said it’s a shaming device! And then everyone posts their results on Facebook and people start comparing themselves to one another, self-loathing and feeling ashamed and inadequate.

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