Saturday, July 18, 2009

Big Mac and obesity

Richie McCaw is obese. So says this Herald report:
Four All Blacks in the starting line-up for tonight's clash against the Wallabies - including captain Richie McCaw - are officially obese and the rest are overweight, according to their Body Mass Index reading. . .
According to the New Zealand Heart Foundation website, people of European descent with a BMI reading between 25 and 30 are overweight while those with a higher reading are obese.
And Maori and Pacific Islanders with a reading between 26 and 32 are overweight and those with a higher reading are obese.
Every All Black had a reading of higher than 26.
This is yet more evidence for the Stratford Theory of Numbers, isn’t it. Really, if Richie McCaw is obese, which he clearly isn’t, what word do we use for Parekura Horomia?

So this tells us that the BMI is a useless concept – it does not measure obesity at all. What it measures is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in metres squared. This makes no allowance for the proportion of fat (light) to muscle (heavy), and so for two people of the same height, the muscly one will have a higher BMI than the lard-arse. Then there is the distribution – it matters a lot where the fat is.

The current obesity panic was sparked by this report that New Zealanders are the third most obese people in the world, after Americans and Mexicans. Cue calls for action: the government must do something. Mac Doctor has a typically robust comment here.

Then again, if Australia wins tonight, we’ll have to reconsider.

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