What's The Skinny on Fat Countries?

A few weeks ago I commented on how everyone (except me) in Zurich looked really trim and healthy...

To prove that E@L is an astute observer of these things, check this link... Look where Switzerland is on this chart of the percentage of the population with a BMI of over 30 (which = 'obese').


Hint: look to the left side of the chart.

[I was gonna just link to the chart, but I realized the person who put it up didn't source it either, so fuck that. Obviously public domain.]



Posted by: expat@large on May 20, 07 | 11:45 pm | Profile


damn..and me just about to go out for dinner with friends *snickering*

Posted by: savannah on May 21, 07 | 6:27 am

At least I am not in the 30% of the Yanks yet.

Posted by: HK-Fool on May 21, 07 | 10:41 am

Singapore doesn't rate a mention! Australia's moving along slowly at no6... no thanks to me.

Posted by: expat@large on May 21, 07 | 5:13 pm

There are certainly flaws in the BMI methodology tho'. When I was in the best shape of my life and a high-level collegiate athlete, my BMI was 27.4. Now that I am middle aged and fat (relatively speaking), it is 29.9. However, my hight-to-waist ratio (i.e., waist should be half height) is only off by an inch.

Posted by: Dan at ExPatLife on May 21, 07 | 5:55 pm

BMI doesn't really have "flaws" - at least only in its application, not intrinsically. It is just a useful broad tool to get an idea. All screening tests are simple tests that catch a few who shouldn't be there and miss a few who should. Muscle weighs more than fat for example, so if two guys were the same height and weight, though one was trim, dense and bumpy with muscles and the other had a big spare tyre their BMIs could be the same. But the idea is for things like the BMI it they should be used as a screening test, not a test in itself. (OK for large population studies.) Its purpose is to catch as many people who need real examination and maybe treatment as it can. Some people you just, go, yeah BMI big deal, you're just muscley and fit, get the fuck out of my office.

Specificity (how many people WITHOUT the problem screen negative) and sensitivity (how many people WITH the problem screen positive) chi squared test, likliehood ratios, Bayes theorem, (risk adjustment)... that used to be my life.

But really you could see it in Swizterland, there just weren't any fat people on the street. I'd go to Boston and OMG!!!!

Posted by: expat@large on May 21, 07 | 6:14 pm

Gotcha. It really is the first thing I notice when I visit America: "Holy shit, everyone is soooo fat!" Weird to see after all these years of living in Asia.

Posted by: Dan at ExPatLife on May 21, 07 | 6:41 pm

i think my bmi might be lower if i didn't have those muscles on my arms and legs from working out

Posted by: The Ivy on May 22, 07 | 4:35 am

There has been some talk of having a modified BMI for Asians.

In cardiac assessment the stroke volume of the heart has a certain relationship with the BMI - the bigger you are the higher the volume of blood the heart needs to pump. For Asians who as a general rule are smaller and shorter than those of European (i.e. mixed Neanderthal) descent, the cardiac output is lower (or is it higher?) for the same BMI - this can cause diagnostic confusion (obviously!) for people with borderline heart faliure.

Ivy: pump it, LOUDER, pump it!

Posted by: expat@large on May 22, 07 | 11:29 am


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