…remember that those in authority who are supposed to possess expertise may not. In fact, if a bias exists in general form in certain programs, that bias will ‘trickle down’ to the future professionals in that field.
For instance, here’s a webpage maintained by medical doctors which ranks high on the Google search hits for “genetics height weight.” The webpage features average height/weight charts for whites, blacks, hispanics, and others, categorized into male and female (I have problems with the racial categorizations, though some would disagree with my trepidation). They also have weight charts for children (interestingly, however, no height charts).
Featured within the description box are, of course, the BMI charts for men and women. They also have an ideal weight page, which says that I should lose 100 lbs according to certain calculations, and that the “medically recommended” weight for me is at least 75 lbs lower than I am right now.
Interestingly, I’ve been in that range before. What did it take to keep me there? Eating three Fig Newtons every day, drinking liters of Diet Coke, and taking Metabolife at its maximum doseage (those were on the days I actually ate: I would fast from 1-4 days periodically, living off Metabolife alone). I hit 155 lbs doing that, at the lowest level of my eating. When I began exercising I started gaining weight back, since even the Metabolife wouldn’t kill the hunger (that was back when Metabolife had ephedrine; it didn’t work at all for me once ephedrine was banned from ‘herbal’ diet pills).
When I was on a “healthy” WW diet, I never got that low. I bottomed out at 205, with 2 hours of hard cardio a day in addition to fruits, veggies, and Splenda-flavored air.
But hey, anything to lose weight and get into that “medically recommended” range, eh? Interesting that there are no “recommendations” on how to healthily get into that range (because, OMG, it’s obvious — eat less, exercise more!).
Back to the main page, we find this gem:
The most common reason that people use these charts is to find out if they, or someone they love, is overweight. While it is scientifically proven that obesity is unhealthy,
Wow, it is? I don’t remember that happening. Blanket panic-statements are scienterrific!
please also remember that a negative self-image is also unhealthy. [emphasis theirs]
So you better hate and fear your fat at the same time maintaining good body image.
If you are overweight, these charts show that you are not alone. The people you see on television or in magazines, don’t represent the real population.
…but they’re still unhealthy, because they’re FAAAATTTTT!!!!!!1! Did I mention that fat is unhealthy?
But wait, there’s more:
Medical science can suggest a normal range of body mass index values that are equally reasonable and healthy.
“Reasonable,” even though 95% of you non-normal people can never achieve it.
Outside of that normal range, when either overweight or underweight, then some statistically significant health risks have been proven.
Aha, well, so it’s risks you’re talking about, then. How convenient! Let’s lump people together using statistical correlations and not describe what actually causes conditions. For instance, 7 of 8 fat people do not have Type II diabetes. But you could say those 7 other fat people have a risk of getting diabetes because they’re being lumped into the same group as fat people with diabetes (namely, their risk is 1 in 8, or 12.5%).
However, that’s not taking into account the causes of diabetes. Diabetes is strongly genetic; so can those 12.5% of fat people with a genetic predisposition to diabetes be compared to fat people with no or small genetic predisposition to diabetes? “Medical science” says yes — because they’re fat. Common sense, or actual rigorous science with no agenda says no — people with a genetic predisposition towards something should be lumped with other people who have that same genetic predisposition.
But hey, this blog has never tried to suggest much medical research in obesity either doesn’t have an agenda, or is as rigorous as it could be (for whatever reason).
Hopefully this ‘medical conventional wisdom’ will change as unbiased, non-Pharma funded (and that includes equipment, too!) research turns out the real mechanisms behind weight.
And a final, terrifying remark from that site:
On the other hand, public opinion, as influenced by television and print advertising, portrays an unrealistic narrow range of “ideal”. So, remember that genetics and family history is the most significant determinant of your height and weight. (Just don’t use that as an excuse to avoid exercise and good nutrition).
Ah, yes. Always the admission of the strong hereditary nature of height and weight, with the “caveat” which translates into: Remember, you can’t control your natural setpoint range. But that’s no excuse not to try to control it.
For more evidence of non-expert “expertise,” please go to First, Do No Harm.