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Something of an error here

Obese people will outnumber those of a healthy weight within five years, a stark report warns.

The study by Cancer Research UK shows that by 2027, those whose weight does not compromise their health will be in the minority.

The forecasts show four in 10 will be obese within two decades, while seven in 10 will be overweight or obese.

Being overweight, shading into that obesity range, is actually healthier than being of that “normal” weight.

So they’re simply wrong, aren’t they? And yet they’re taking that wrong as being the basis of how we must be ruled:

The charity issued the new analysis as it criticised the Government’s decision to delay a ban on buy-one-get-one- free deals and advertising of junk food to children.

Building the law on incorrect information doesn’t work out well……

21 thoughts on “Something of an error here”

  1. Something else wrong too. Lots of calls for more foodbanks because of poverty and starvation. Yet we as a society will be more obese. I don’t quite see the connection.

  2. Only government can organise an ‘obesity crisis’ at the same time as a ‘starvation crisis’.

    Not to mention a ‘Cost of Living crisis’, ‘Climate crisis’, ‘Housing crisis’, ‘Energy crisis’.

    Crisis? What crisis?

  3. The NHS publishes a survey every year, or did before covid. You can follow the trend, and it is only slightly up. No chance that there is some inexorable trend, more like wobbling round a slight upward gradient. This is the typical media/NGO extrapolation of an overstated trend. If this goes on we will all explode/drown/starve/whatever.

    What is funny is that when it comes to the ‘Great Replacement’ (see a later post today) no speculation of a less-desired future is allowed.

  4. JuliaM,

    “Meanwhile, over in ‘The Guardian’, it’s just terrible that school meals may have to be reduced.”

    Why do we even have them? Almost no parents pay for school meals. Kids who don’t get free school meals take a packed lunch. Is it really that hard for a parents on benefits to put that together in the morning? Maybe give them all an extra couple of quid a week to cover the cost of bread and cheese?

  5. BoM4, it’s hard to make a packed lunch for the rug rats when you don’t get up till 10, after being up into the wee small hours drinking Stella and having a few spliffs in the back garden with your mates…..

  6. Is it really that hard for a parents on benefits to put that together in the morning? Maybe give them all an extra couple of quid a week to cover the cost of bread and cheese?

    Free school meals is really a subsidy to the undeserving poor (the lazy and the feckless), because any extra money nominally given to them to “feed the kids” just gets spunked away on more Stella and fags.

    The deserving poor would rather go hungry themselves than see their kids without food.

    Free school meals targets both the deserving and undeserving poor in the typical half-assed way of any government bureaucracy. Largely inedible and unappealing (to kids leastways), warmed over food cooked in a centralised kitchen and distributed across a wide area then reheated. No wonder it’s garbage and the kids largely reject it.

  7. Cheese flan (with salad and mashed potato), steak and kidney pudding, fish and chips, shepherds pie, custard with all sorts of pudding, rice with jam. Then seconds…..
    School dinners were great in my day (mid 1960’s to early 70’s).

    The death knell for tasty school grub was Jamie fucking Olivers war on turkey twizzlers and chicken nuggets……. Check out the childrens response at the very end:

  8. Children have unsophisticated tastes. Make them hungry enough and they’ll eat even Jamie Oliver.

  9. Southerner: “I’ll just stand here and wait for proof of the connection between BMI and cancer.”

    I’ll settle for any actual scientific definition of a “healthy weight”, including allowance for variance, that’s specific enough to accurately correlate body weight to anything.

    There’s normal weight indexes ( with proper margins and hedges and stuff ) but I never, ever see the Busybodies use those
    Then again, then they’d have to admit that their “significant” *ahem*results*/ahem* are based on a statistic with some 15% range in the 95% confidence bracket…

  10. Grikath – In reality all weight will form a bell curve (probably best segregated by sex…if they can tell what a woman is), those 2 standard deviations from the mean will have little-to-no problems arising from their weight whereas the outliers (both too big AND too small) will have increasing problems the further you go with imminent death at the extremes of both.

    But that’s just “The Art of the Obvious” and you don’t get paid big bucks and the authority to write your own regulations and a massive PR budget for stating the obvious.

    People are more obese than they were: Yes, sure, because people do far less manual work than they did. Sitting behind a desk all day long as opposed to digging ditches requires far less calories.

    How do we fix this: It’s generally understood that (issues of carbohydrates aside), that if you have a sedentary lifestyle you will gain weight. Therefore “Move more, eat less” is a way to lose weight.

    It doesn’t need some huge bureaucracy to get that message out (which is again, pretty damn obvious) and those that say “Nah. Not gonna bother”, that’s their choice. Leave them the phuq be.

    But what about the impact on NHS Resources?: Scrap the NHS, move to a French/Swiss style health model and away from state provision of health services and most of these problems solve themselves.

  11. As I mentioned in a comment below a later post here, I’m as thin as a lat and yet not that far from being classed as overweight. How much of the alleged obesity problem is down to the ludicrously low bar for being classed as obese that has been set by the health zealots?

  12. The problem with BMI is that it was originally designed as a statistical measure for population surveys rather than something which has any meaning to an individual, so its use in the way the NHS does is ill conceived to the point of being erratic.

    The problem being that if someone is 5’10 (1.77m) and 15 stone (90 KG) then depending upon their body fat percentage they could either be a couch potato lurching towards obesity or a muscular Rugby player (since muscle is heavier than fat).

    The problem for the NHS is that there is no easy and accurate measurement for fat% short of a DEXA (Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan. So they use BMI as a short cut and end up hammering decidedly square pegs in round holes.

    It’s not just that it’s wrong, it’s misleading and anyone spending 5 minutes reading would understand why. Far better to give our GP’s a bit more training on how to use a set of calipers and measure actual fat (even imprecisely) on patients as they walk in the door than continue to put up with the excrescence that is BMI.

  13. @Stonyground: Some, but probably not too much – it’s hard to get figures but BMI also has flaws in the other direction. The actual obese zone (not merely overweight) is also not that low, though still not necessarily evidence of a problem.

    That said, it’s a rubbish metric and no organisation or study using it is credible. BMI has issues with tall, short, muscular and atrophied people. Variants exist but nothing relying on height and weight will ever be reliable. Personally, I like the US Navy measurement which also takes account of neck size vs waistline.

  14. JG

    The problem for the NHS is that there is no easy and accurate measurement for fat% short of a DEXA (Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan.

    I’ve no idea how accurate they are but those (Tanita or whatever they are?) home scales give % fat readings as well as weight? Even to the point where one has to put in a sex and height in order to get a useful % fat reading? They’re quite common.

    BMI x (1 + % fat) – or a factor of or something (and maybe BMI adjusted slightly away from “squared”) – might give a revised/more useful metric? Doesn’t change the point that others have often made here, about “normal” etc, but perhaps a small step in the right direction?

    (Stonyground on the other thread – they have “proper” ones in gyms)

  15. The one in our gym gave me a body fat percentage of 12.3%. An excellent score is 23.3% apparently. I’ve no idea how it works it out, you have to hold two handles while it measures it.

  16. The ones which measure a fat %-age either do so using Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) of very variable accuracy. Generally, the better the quality, the higher the accuracy, but not exceeding 90% of the accuracy of a DEXA scan.

    Good enough for daily use I would have said, provided the calibration is checked regularly.

    Comparisons of accuracy of estimating percent body fat by four bioelectrical impedance devices with different frequency and induction system of electrical current

    Aim: This study aimed to compare the accuracy of estimating present body fat (%BF), using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) as a reference, among four BIA devices; foot-to-foot bioelectric impendence (FF-BIA), hand-to-hand BIA (HH-BIA), foot-to-hand single-frequency BIA (FH-BIASF), and foot-to-hand multiple-frequency BIA (FH-BIAMF).

    Methods: Forty-four healthy college students (21 males, 172.9 ± 5.5 cm and 65.8±9.1 kg and 23 females, 160.7 ± 6.6 cm, 52.6 ± 6.17 kg) volunteered for this study. The relationship with the reference was determined by Pearson’s correlation coefficient. Standard error of estimation (SEE) was calculated by regression analysis when estimating the reference measures from the predictor (BIAs). The technique of Bland-Altman was used to determine estimation bias and the limit of agreement for %BF between the reference and the predictor.

    Results: When referenced to DXA, FF-BIA and FH-BIASF significantly overestimated %BF. The correlations with DXA were 0.90 or over, except for HH-BIA (r=0.88, P<0.05). When estimating %BFDXA by the %BF of the other methods, the lowest and highest SEE values were found in FH-BIASF (2.14%) and in HH-BIA (2.65%), respectively. The value of the limits of agreement was 10% or under in FH-BIASF and FH-BIAMF, but was 10% or over in FF-BIA and HH-BIA.

    Conclusion: Among four BIA devices, the method with the least estimation error from DXA is FH-BIASF. In comparing single-frequency BIA devices, margin of error tended to be small in FH-BIASF, and estimation bias tended to be small in FH-BIASF and HH-BIA.

    I did an impudence weight scale test one in Boots of Perth back in 2017 and it told me I was 50% fat by volume. Since I wasn’t a hippo, I found that level of inaccuracy hard to believe, but there you go.

  17. @John Galt – “Free school meals is really a subsidy to the undeserving poor (the lazy and the feckless), because any extra money nominally given to them to “feed the kids” just gets spunked away on more Stella and fags.”

    Quite the opposite – unless you think the children themselves are “lazy and feckless”. By providing a meal at school, this is a benefit which cannot be diverted to any other purpose.

    “The problem for the NHS is that there is no easy and accurate measurement for fat% short of a DEXA (Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan. ”

    Well, if you follow the link “linked to excess weight” in the Telegraph article, you get another one reporteed as finding ” Using data from the UK Biobank study they found that in overweight men, every additional four inches on their waistline increased their risk of dying from prostate cancer by 7 per cent.” However, UK Biobank has DXA scans for lots of its participants (see stats here: ) so actual fat measurements could have been used instead of the crude proxy of waist size. BMI shouldn’t be used for anything – it’s very misleading.

  18. As with alcohol, measuring excess deaths from ‘obesity’ depends on what is put on the death certificate. And that depends (to a very large extent) on the whim of the certifying doctor, who is influenced by current headline trends in the Lancet.

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