The BBC have got a really cool program up on their website at the moment that tells you how healthy you are compared to people from other countries, using BMI as the measurement. Of course BMI has its failings, the fact that it doesn’t take into account muscle mass for one, but it’s a fun little exercise.
Back in November last year when I was 13st 10lbs I apparently had more body fat than 97% of females aged 15-29 in this country and than 99% of the same category of women worldwide. Now that I’m 9st (yes, finally I am managing to maintain-at a whopping 50PP daily!) I have less body fat than 83% of young women in the UK and than 58% of those women worldwide. I suppose the only thing I’m surprised by is that the first figure is quite so high-to be fatter than 97% of women aged 15-29 in the UK is quite an achievement given that we’re in the middle of an obesity epidemic in the west! I did a bit of playing around with numbers and found that if I cheated and told the calculator I’m 30 (which, sob, I nearly am) the outcome changed quite significantly-I became fatter than 85% of women aged 30-44 in this country. All this makes my head spin a bit (no, I can’t believe I did Maths A-level either) but I think that suggests that women in the UK aged 30-44 are significantly fatter than those aged 15-29. I see this as quite encouraging really, as maybe it means there’s hope for the younger generation yet? Presumably the teenagers tilt the scale enough and are still healthy enough to outweigh (underweigh?!) those approaching their 30s.
Anyway, it’s fun to play around with. Where do you fit in?
Incidentally, you can also change the country you’re from. If I were American I’d now be slimmer than 87% of my peers, rather than 83% in the UK. Given the reputation America has nowadays of being a land of fatties, I think the terrifying thing there is that the figures are so close. We cannot lazily point at the USA and say ‘at least we’re not as fat as them’ because we VERY nearly are. And we don’t have their portion sizes to contend with, so we’re doing that all on our own-not something to be proud of as a nation.
At the other end of the scale, in order to make myself slimmer than 100% of women aged 15-29 worldwide, I had to make my weight 4st 6lbs. That is a tragedy I can’t even contemplate at this time in the morning. That there are women out there ‘surviving’ at that weight makes me want to cry.