Monday, February 15, 2010

Obesity epidemic or crisis of time?

Are all of our kids suffering from being overweight? Maybe.  Do I listen to the hype on this subject? Not at all.

I have been overweight since I was 16 years old, at least according the BMI (Body Mass Index).  I'm 5 foot 9 and currently I weigh 196 pounds giving me a BMI of 28.9 and this classifies me as overweight.  I would like to drop about 5 pounds to help show my abs even more than they are exposed now, but I'm very happy with my health.  When I was 16 years of age my BMI was 25.1 and again I was classified as overweight.  Never mind that my body fat percentage according to a personal trainer was 5% at the time.  Later in life while I was at BUD/s (Basic Underwater Demolition School/Navy SEAL training) my BMI was 30.1 and luckily I was no longer overweight.  Needless to say during my training at BUD/s I was in the best shape of my life, but I was now technically classified as "obese" according the BMI charts.  The BMI chart claims that I'm overweight and even obese at times, hence why I stopped listening many years ago about obesity.  I seriously doubt none of us will disagree that different body types exists, but then why does the BMI not adjust for this?  I have always been dense, no jokes about that one, and extremely strong and able to build muscles will little to no effort in the gym.  Simply put, I have a meat head type body and though I have always made cardiovascular exercise a big part of my workout, I still have not acquired a long lean body.  At the same time that I look like I'm going to be competing in weight lifting contest some of my friends look as though they desperately need to eat something to put some meat on their bones.  We all have that friend who eats none stop and yet they are unable to add a pound to their sparse frames.  Is obesity an epidemic or do we need to come up with a BMI that actually accounts for us being different?  Given the BMI was invented back in the 1850's I'm sure we can update it based upon our modern knowledge of the body.

The photo with this post is of me about 2 months ago when I was chasing my kids around one school morning to show my excessive obesity.  Nothing gets my kids moving like flash photography. Ha.  What is your BMI?:

Now this growing hysteria about childhood obesity is just leaving me even more skeptical.  Even more so when I look and have tried to eat the supposed food they serve in my kids school cafeteria.  I see many children who are obese and this breaks my heart, but at the same time it confuses me when I see schools limiting recess and athletics during school hours.  Instead the various departments of education want to point a finger at the parents and their supposed lack of forcing kids to exercise and poor nutritional choices.  The biggest issues I see and I propose as the real underlying culprits of childhood obesity is the use of the flawed BMI and TIME.  As a society we often over promote working harder and ever longer hours and it is these longer hours that is affecting our home lives in more ways than just health.  Really, who has time to cook up a good family meal these days?  Us parents are trying more than ever to squeeze more time out of our days.  Rush home at the speed of smell in rush hour traffic to spend some time completing homework, bath time, story time and then bed time.  Dang it, we left out dinner and then quickly off to a fast food establishment or what preservative laden meal is lurking in the freezer that can be popped in the microwave is all the time some parents have.  Taxes are extremely high in this country as well as most goods and services and we need to work more just to make ends meet.  But are we literally killing ourselves and possibly our children with all this work?  Less money these days and we work more, and then we work more and we have less time to cook high quality healthy meals or time to go throw the ball out in the yard with our children.  Time is the most precious commodity we have to live and give happy healthy lives to our children.  Time is the issue, but I guess it's more politically expedient to ban candy from school campuses than to foster, protect, and promote more time for families.

Interesting article on time:



  1. Dude, VERY good article! You and I sound a lot alike. We have similar builds and can build muscle in much the same manner. I'm 5'10 and was about 205. I started working out about six weeks ago and am now down to 188. I'm trying to get it down to 180. Not sure what else I can do to get there. My work outs include weight training/ab exercises plus 30 minutes of hard cardio. In addition, I have completely changed my "lifestyle." Notice I did not say "diet" because this is not a diet but a lifestyle change. I eat "optimal" foods: high protein, high fiber, low fat and low carb. My cholesterol numbers, which were abysmal, have bounced back to within a very healthy range. I've never known my BMI so I can't comment there but I did do a body fat count a number of years ago and I think it was in the 5-7% range. I know if I had taken it more recently, I would've expected that number to be higher.

    But you're absolutely right about the shortcomings of the BMI as an accurate reading of health. I know some kids who are considered "obese" according to the BMI but you can tell there is no way that's possible. We definitely need a new way.

    Great stuff, man. Keep it up!

    PS Tell me how to get those abs! I do hundreds of ab exercises and have changed what I eat. I do have some good definition coming out but I still have that spare tire, especially in the "love handle" area. Any advice?

  2. Thanks Steely Dad.
    While I don't use a program like P90x, from the training I have had I can say variety in your workout is the key to achieving continued results. I always try new classes at the gym, see others do a new move and follow suit.
    Core/abs can be very tough to get results and they seem directly tied to your nutritional choices. I also will look on the web for new workout ideas and that helps to not fall into the same boring routine. I also do very slow and few reps one day and then very high number of reps the next for abs. Seems to work.
    It sounds like you have made some great strides on your own and just an outside point of view. Don't watch your weight or pick a target weight. The second I walk in the gym, the muscle starts to build and my weight goes through the roof. As you know muscle weighs more than fat.
    Keep up the great work. Kaz (KINGDADS)


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