Britain is fat; about half of all adults are considered “overweight” – and nearly a quarter obese – by body mass index (BMI), the standard measure. I get called “slim”, from time to time, but my BMI (weight in kilos divided by the square of my height in metres: 1.8 metres, 82 kilos, BMI 24.8) is teetering just on the brink of “normal”, barely below the 25 cut-off for overweight. We’ve recalibrated our idea of what people look like.
And being fat is a problem, from a public health point of view. The fatter you are, the greater your risk of heart disease, various cancers, diabetes, infertility, high blood pressure, and so on and so forth.
No, not true. There is, as with so many things, a U shaped curve here. Being terribly thin (ie, BMI under 20) is dangerous to your health. Bring morbidly obese is dangerous to your health. Hell, being alive is dangerous to your health. But the weight which is least dangerous to your health is being overweight: a BMI or 25 to 30. It is a curve, not a straight line, here.
I could explain the risks in detail, but I like this explanation from the website Science and Rainbows: they looked at research on the impact on life expectancy of an HIV diagnosis, and of being diagnosed with obesity, at various different ages. If you have a BMI of 44 at age 30, your life expectancy is about the same as that of someone the same age being diagnosed with HIV at the same age, and in later years being obese is far the greater risk
A BMI of 44 is indeed morbidly obese. Not overweight or a tad fatty.