The Obesity Epidemic

                    Or Is It?

I keep hearing and reading alarmist news that more and more Americans are over weight, obese even. An epidemic they call it. Over fifty percent of Americans are considered to be obese according to some news reports these days.

I look at my friends and my neighbors and I ask: where are all these over weight people? I do not see that many people who look over weight. At the malls or theaters, grocery stores, even restaurants I do not see that many obese people.

So I want to tell you a story. A story of how one person I know became obese almost over night. Well in fact, it really was over night.

Back in 1998 the government for some reason or another decided to change the standards by which the Body Mass Index is measured. In doing so, the federal government, with just a stroke of a pen, shifted 30 million Americans from the NOT over weight category into the OVER weight category.

These poor unsuspecting Americans did not gain an ounce of weight, yet now magically they were now considered overweight.


Or more precisely, the government CREATED an epidemic.

My friend was now in the over weight category after years of being taunted and teased for being a sickly skinny-minny and boney-maroney. How do I know that? I know it because my friend is…… moi……..ME, your humble, but over weight, fat, and lazy proprietress of this blog

Look at the picture below. Do I look over weight to you? [I am the one on the right in the turquoise blouse.] That picture was taken a little less than two years ago. And I can assure you I look no different today. Well, except today I am prettier.

What happened to turn me into an over weight fat slob? 1998 happened. That’s all. The new BMI  chart happened.  According to these new government standards in America you are considered to be over weight if you have a BMI of over 24.9.

Guess what mine is. 

Cue the Jeopaprdy music.

Da da da da ta da da da ta da. Da  da da dot di dotty dotty.  BOINK

Alex, the answer is… 25.

You are correct, Roberta.  You win Jeopardy!! Even if you are fat over weight slob!

I am the new poster-girl of obesity in America today.  But I am in such great company.  Under the new government policy I am over weight with:

Oh be still my heart, Pierce Brosnan and George Clooney! Woot Woot! Also added to the obese list are Will Smith, Tom Cruise, LeBron James, Sylvester Stallone, and Sammy Sousa too. In fact, many professional athletes are considered over weight under the new BMI figures.

So when I hear people complain and wring their hands at the obesity epidemic today, I immediately subtract 30 million Americans from any number cited. This is the number of Americans who were unceremoniously dumped into this category simply because they had the gall to bed one night thirteen years ago.

Sources: Fattening the Obesity Statistics; About Your BMI; Obesity Myths

Featured Recipe    Bacon Mushroom Salad

This salad is very easy and very delicious too. Salads do not get much better than this. This recipe serves two to three people.

It goes well with any entrée.

Did I tell you this salad has bacon in it?

This is what you will need for 2-3 people:

2-3 strips bacon

1 shallot

1 clove garlic

About ½ pounds button mushrooms

Lettuce greens of your choice*

For the Salad Dressing

¼ cup olive oil

3 tablespoons sherry vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

*I prefer endive with this salad, but the endive was really anemic looking at the store today, so I bought leaf lettuce.

Here is what you do:

Dice the bacon and fry until crisp.

Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper or a mushroom brush. Cut the mushrooms in half or if large into fourths.

Mince both the shallot and the garlic.

When the bacon is crisp, add the mushrooms, shallot, and garlic to the pan and sauté for abut 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

When the mushroom mixture is cooked add some salt and pepper to taste.

Then let the mixture cool completely.

While you are waiting for the mushrooms to cool, wash and dry the lettuce leaves. I drain it on towels first, and then use a salad spinner. You can see the salad spinner in the background in the picture. The lettuce should be dry. Saladd dressings do not cling to wet leaves very well.


To make the dressing add the olive oil, sherry, and salt and pepper to a small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk until creamy.

Arrange the dry lettuce leaves on a salad plate.

When the mushrooms are cool, sprinkle some of the bacon-mushroom mixture over the lettuce.

Drizzle with the dressing.

Bon appétit!!!


2-3 strips bacon                                $0.33                                     

1 shallot                                           $0.12

1 cloves garlic                                   $0.12              

About ½ lbs button mushrooms          $1.69

Lettuce greens of your choice*           $0.86

For the Salad Dressing

¼ cup olive oil                                  $0.46

3 tablespoons sherry vinegar              $1.50

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost = $5.08
Cost per person (3) = $1.69

Quote of the Day

In times like these it helps to recall there have always been times like these.

Paul Harvey


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6 comments to The Obesity Epidemic

  • It is true that the BMI changed. But, there is a difference between being overweight and obese. According the NIH 33% of adults are considered obese (<30bmi). The alarming statistics are not those but the rise in obesity even over the last ten years along with the rise of type 2 diabetes. I don't believe the government can change any scale that would change this sad fact.

    Also, where do you live? Every time I go out I am alarmed at the amount of waddling mass I see, usually clutching a Big Gulp or some other fat inducing, non nutritious substance. This was not the case 15 or 20 years ago.

    Regardless of the BMI, there is so much empirical evidence of this really big problem that your comments are both inaccurate and quite frankly irresponsible. If you have developed or are developing an audience of readers and you are writing about food, I suggest that you get all of your facts straight and learn what the overwhelming truth actually is. There is a serious problem all over the world and there are many highly educated and experienced people working toward fixing it.


    Chris Brooks

    • Roberta

      I limited this post to BMI and how at least 30 million people who are lumped into that obese number you talk about probably should not be there.

      I also try to share information that is based on facts and research not just my own personal opinion. I also try to share common sense nutrition and health not the hype that most of the health industry feeds an unspecting public. I respect the intelliegnce of my readers and do not lecture or scold them.

      Thank you for weighing in.

  • Roberta,

    Even though I came to your site because of this outlandish headline, I like your approach and appreciate your efforts.

    I just must differ with you on the hype. I believe that the advertising and penetration of fast food, processed food and all of the other big food far outweigh the “health industry”. I do agree, however, that there is a lot of conflicting information out there.

    Where I think we agree is that the sensible approach is best put by Michael Pallin, paraphrased: “Eat whole food, not too much, mainly plants”.

    Are you in Ohio? I am originally from there.

    • Roberta

      Michael Pallin’s quote is an outstanding one. However, I would add that meat eaten in moderation is not evil. In fact, moderation and portion size are probably the most important parts of eating and living well. If we sat down and had a freindly debate, I sure we are prety much on same page.

      Yes. I am in Ohio. Columbus. Orginnaly from Dayton. Lived in SoCal for three years.

      As always, thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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