At least one of the reasons we are getting so much fatter on average is that we’re so surrounded by people who are overweight that we’ve lost the sense of what a normal weight should be.
At least that seems to be the case in the US, and I am sure it’s not much different up here.
A recent Harris Interactive/Health Day survey asked a representative group of American adults how much they weighed and how tall they were. The respondents were then asked whether they thought, by BMI status, if they were normal weight or overweight.
A substantial number of the survey takers – 30% – who were overweight by BMI criteria (a BMI over 25) replied that they felt they were normal weight, while 70% of those who were obese thought they were “merely overweight”.
BMI is not a perfect measure of weight. For example, since muscle weighs a lot, a very muscular person can have a high BMI but be normal weight.
That said, most of us are not too muscular (some of us – me, for example – aren’t even slightly muscular) and so for us, BMI is a pretty good measuring rod for what our weight should be.
Most experts say that you should be aiming for between 20 and 25, although I am a lot more liberal than that, so I figure that if you’re working out or just being quite active, you can allow yourself a few extra pounds without worrying about it (never mind “allowing” yourself; how about “accepting” instead because honestly, how do you keep those (few?) extra pounds off anyway as you get older, eh?)