Saturday, February 06, 2010

Watching White House BMI

Michele Obama is giving advice on getting fat:
The first lady made the issue of healthy eating personal last week at an event in Alexandria, Va., where she kicked off a campaign addressing the issue of childhood obesity. ...

Obama said the doctor suggested she first look at her daughters' body mass index (BMI). The minor changes she subsequently made in their daily habits, Obama said, made all the difference.

Some charge that Obama's comments may be perceived as a focus on weight and dieting, which sends the wrong message to the public. The first lady should be discussing behavioral change, not weight loss, said Laura Collins Lyster-Mensh, an eating disorder activist and executive director of Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Disorder (F.E.A.S.T.).

"We've confused health and weight in a way that's very confusing for children and very confusing for parents," Lyster-Mensh said. "When we speak publicly about putting our children on a diet, we start to get into weight stigma and confusing the message to families."

The focus on obesity, Lyster-Mensh said, turns this into an issue of appearances, which does not bode well for children, especially girls.

"There is simply no reason to be pushing children into weight reduction diets and that's the message parents out there get," Lyster-Mensh said. "Dieting is a gateway drug to eating disorders for those with a biological predisposition to eating disorders."

Michelle Obama's Comments Stir Debate

President Obama is also guilty of talking about his daughters' weight. In an interview with Parents magazine in November 2008, the president said, "A couple of years ago -- you'd never know it by looking at her now -- Malia was getting a little chubby."
I am not sure what is more ridiculous here. The First Lady has to ask a physician to measure BMI in order to determine whether her daughter is fat? The President is not allowed to say that his kid is getting chubby? And an "eating disorder activist" says that telling a fat kid to lose weight is confusing?

BMI is useless on kids. Kids get fat because of irresponsible parents who listen to stupid eating disorder activists.

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