Just in time for Australia Day, an Australian Bureau of Statistics study has found that Australians are getting fatter and that we are becoming more likely to see that as acceptable. This is, of course, A BAD THING.
The bureau’s latest survey shows the number of overweight or obese adults has surged by more than 50 per cent in the past 15 years to an estimated 7.4 million. But those figures rely on notoriously understated estimates given by respondents when surveyors ask for their personal statistics.
Men tended to overstate their height while women understated their weight, a bureau spokeswoman, Denise Carlton, said yesterday, and the problem is getting worse.
Ah, of course. We are both vain and deluded. Fatties just can’t be trusted to tell the truth and clearly most Australians are fatties. Liar, liar, pants on fire.
But wait! There’s more.
“Overweight or obese men and women are increasingly likely to see themselves as having an acceptable weight,” the bureau says in its latest report on obesity.
And since fatties seeing themselves as acceptable is A BAD THING, our doctors and polititians are practically frothing at the mouth to regulate our weight.
The Australian Medical Association has demanded the Federal Government follow Britain and adopt a national obesity strategy, drawing together a campaign focusing on diet, physical activity and healthier communities.
The federal Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, said the Rudd Government would give priority to obesity as part of its national preventive health strategy.
This would drive collaboration on the obesity campaign at all levels of government, in the private sector and in local communities, Ms Roxon said.
Ms Roxon is the notorious Federal Health Minister who has initiated the highly controversial measure of compulsory weigh-ins for four year olds. I guess she is elated to have more fuel to fan her anti-obesity flame.
I haven’t read the study in detail yet, and I will leave the detailed critique of the data to someone else with a statistical or scientific background – but I do still have one little nit-pick that jumps out even to my scientifically untrained eye.
The press release of the study states:
More than half (54%) of Australian adults are either overweight or obese, according to new analysis from the 2004-05 National Health Survey released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
This has increased from 15 years ago when 38% of adults were regarded as being overweight or obese (in 1989-90).
Now, weren’t the BMI ranges radically redefined in 1998, magically making more people ‘Overweight’ (with a BMI of greater than 25 instead of greater than 27) and ‘Obese’ (with a BMI of greater than 30 instead of greater than 32?
Surely THAT could at least partially account for the increase in adults who are labelled ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’?