Everyone Else Is Fat!

Last month The New York Times reported on survey results from PewResearch.org. Apparently 90% of Americans consider others fat, 70% consider acquaintances fat, and just 40% consider themselves overweight. Confused? Eric Nagourney reports:

The numbers may not seem to add up, but that is what a study from the Pew Research Center found in surveying more than 2,250 adults about the worsening obesity problem.


"People tend to see the weight problem of the nation as a whole as being greater than the weight problems of their friends and acquaintances," said the report, online at pewresearch.org.

The survey respondents are certainly right when it comes to the big picture. Federal studies, the report noted, estimate that about 31 percent of American adults are obese, and that an additional third are overweight.

"But when they think about weight," the researchers wrote of the people surveyed, "they appear to use different scales for different people."

I'm not a doctor, but a telephone survey seems to a horrible way of determining if a person is fat or not. Dr. Fuhrman determines healthy body weight by checking a person's percentage of body fat and measuring their periumbilical fat. What's that? He explains it's as simple as pinching near a person's umbilicus (navel) and measuring the distance between two fingers.

Dr. Fuhrman mentions that a lot of his patients on Eat to Live claim to be "so thin," but once he measures them, they realize they've still got work to do.

For more on this issue check out this previous post: I'm Not Fat

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Comments (6) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Linda - May 9, 2006 5:05 PM

I agree with that way of determining fat, especially since it's been shown to be dangerous around the midsection; however, at some point, one can be *very* thin, but have an inch of fat available to pinch. I know; I'm one of them! I weigh under 100 lbs., exercise 5-6 days a week, Eat 2 Live, and have Zero weight to spare! I pretty much have no fat on me EXCEPT for that one inch right around my belly button. It is very visible, since I'm pretty tight everywhere else. It's like a pancake, slapped on to my stomache.
If I go by that measurment and try to continue losing weight, I would become deathly ill very quickly, I would think.
I think one's body and genetics has to be taken into consideration.
Short of liposuction, that 1-inch of fat ain't going anywhere.

Leanne - May 9, 2006 7:23 PM

I also have a problem with the midsection pinch test for overweight. My BMI is 20.9, but after giving birth to a very large son 18 months ago, I too have over an inch of excess weight around my middle that I just can't seem to shift, regardless of my adherence to Eat 2 Live and regular exercise.

Oh well, just more exercise I guess! Dr Fuhrman has been right on everything else, so he seems to know what he's talking about.

anet - May 10, 2006 5:41 AM

And now this from NYTIMES to imply that we benefit from fat "to fall back on"...
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/09/health/09trea.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
you know thin folks are gonna have to answer for this now...when everyone's telling them "EAT, EAT"

Linda - May 10, 2006 11:03 AM

Well, Leanne, at least you have a reason for your pouch! Haha. Mine just likes it there, I guess :D.

Anet, that little blurb has so little information! I guess if you're thin, there is less for the disease to get through and maybe the fat sort of slows down the attack??
I don't know, but it is also a poorly worded report: it contradicts itself by saying in the first line that the heavier folks are more likely to survive than people "in good shape"; then changes to refer to the people being "low weight" and "thinnest" and then says they're low weight because of their illness! So they weren't "in good shape."
It doesn't make sense to me.

I hate these kind of little reports that leave you with more questions, confused, or concluding the wrong thing. It's worse than trying to understand a too-lengthy reports with medical lingo!

anet - May 10, 2006 5:51 PM

Linda, I absolutely agree w/ you, these kind of "health news" reports are more than useless--they are harmful. The sad fact is many will use that to support their "decision" to just throw up their hands and say 'whats the use'.

michele - March 1, 2012 2:30 PM

I think a lot of what he says in this book, but some of it is too drastic, I think. I lost over 80lbs on my own, without this diet, not cutting out dairy or fish or even bread, and I had a little skin left over from my weight loss because I had been heavy for 20 years. This skin makes "pinching" anywhere seem like I have a little fat, but I really don't. If he were to measure me, he prob. would find more than 1 inch to pinch at my tummy, but that is skin and it is not going anywhere unless I get a tuck. Most of you who have had a baby are in the same boat, so please please don't starve yourself more or be even more drastic. The doc doesn't say anything about extra skin here, and anyone who has lost a lot of weight is going to have some...forever..unless they have surgery to remove it.

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