Big fat numbers

Here is a cruel and unnecessary joke an English friend of mine sent me the other day:

“Michelangelo’s David has been on loan to America for two years. This is how it looks now. “

chubby david

Americans will soon reach from sea to shining sea. Each one of us, that is.

Check this out for a totally musical interlude about the United States and the sea-to-sea thing:

Weight loss statistics show US is Fat and Obese. The fact that men are chubbier than women on the whole and that they do not diet as much as women interested me as a cosmetic plastic surgeon, so I did some research on these differences. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force came out with a recommendation recently that all people should be examined for obesity by having their body mass index (BMI) calculated during regular doctor visits.  Liposuction and other cosmetic surgery procedures that a plastic surgeon can perform are really for people of normal height and weight—not the obese. Weight Loss Statistics Show US is Fat and Obese.

First let us define a few terms we keep on hearing:


Body mass index, or BMI, is a number calculated using one’s height and weight.  It is a number between 10 and 50 . The normal BMI for an athlete is 17-20.  For an adult it should be less than 25.


Body mass index higher than 30.


Body mass index between 25 and 30.

Here is a BMI calculator you can use to determine your own BMI:

The BMI, however, is not such a great predictor of health.  There are many false positives. For example, a muscular man who is 5’7″ and weighs 200lbs has a BMI of 31 and would be classified as obese rather than a god! So it’s not the best measure, but it is better than just looking at weight.

The scary thing is that by 2030, over 40% of we Americans may be obese. That would make us easy targets for whoever wants to get us. Think of the geopolitical ramifications!

 Women and diets

Here are some interesting statistics about US women and their diets.  As I have mentioned in other posts, I cannot find similar information about men.

  • Two thirds of women are trying to lose weight at any given time.
  • Half of dieters at a healthy weight are still trying to lose weight.
  • One third of women say concerns about weight make them unhappy.
  • One third of women regularly skip meals to lose weight.

This website at the CDC has a great map showing the increase in obesity in the US over the past 20 years:

In 2011, 35.7% of Americans were obese.  More women (35%) were obese than men (32%).  Obesity rates have doubled over the past 40 years.

64% of women and 72% of men are overweight.  These rates have gone up slightly over the past 40 years, but not nearly as much as the rates for obesity.

So, where was I?

Men are are more likely to be overweight than women but less likely to diet.
Men are less likely to be obese than women.
Black men are more likely to be obese if they are rich.
Black women are more likely to be obese if they are poor.
All are less likely to be obese if they are college grads, etc.

Conclusion: to lose weight, look at this post:

Psychology and weight loss

Psychology affects eating

or this one: 

Write your weight in front of you before you eat.
Have pictures of thin people around you while you eat.


If you see people carrying harpoons, run for your life or at least wiggle around…

For more info on bmi calculations look here

What is a Healthy Body Mass Index