Fat City

Although scientists and supermodels have at last agreed that the Barbi/Ken doll physique is impossible for the majority of people to attain, a record numbers of Canadians are well on their way to emulating another famous doll – the one and only Pilsbury Dough Boy.

Fatty, high calorie diets, desk jobs, comfy couches, cable television and hectic fast food schedules are only partially to blame for this trend – our lack of knowledge and appreciation of the health risks is also at fault. The majority of us have little or no idea what we're doing to ourselves or how it can be avoided.

The statistics are mind blowing.

More than half of all Canadians are at least slightly overweight for their height, and 12 per cent are considered obese – 20 per cent above their recommended weight. Doctor's estimate that 61 per cent of Canadian children between the ages of five and 17 are so physically inactive that their future health and development will be threatened. One out of every five kids is obese, which is a higher per capita ratio of obesity than the United States, the land of the grease… and the ho-ome of the buffet.

We obviously know something's wrong – annual revenues of "self image" companies, including diet plan creators, gym memberships, and exercise equipment manufacturers top $50 billion globally each year, approximately $33 billion of which is spent in the U.S.

Healthy people do buy exercise equipment, and so do skinny-but-otherwise-healthy-types-who-are-sick-of-getting-sand-kicked-in-their-face-and-losing-their-girlfriend. It's a fair bet however that a fair chunk of that money is spent by overweight people who would pay just anything to fit the beauty ideal.

With spring and summer just around the corner, the quest for a healthy-looking physique, one that can whip its shirt off at the beach and wear Spandex, goes into overdrive.

While you can't undo a winter of abuse in a few weeks, any time is a good time to turn things around.

If you’ve ever crashed your car you know that before you can fix the damage, you have to get it appraised. Well in this case, you’ve totalled your body, and before you go to the body shop to hammer the dents out, you need to know what you’re up against.

Self Magazine, the same fitness and wellness periodical that you’ve probably seen from the grocery store lineup while stocking up on Haagen-Dazs, provides an online calculator to help you assess the damage and blue book value of your body. This includes calculators to determine your Body Mass Index (measure of fitness using height and measurements), your Body Fat Percentage, your Ideal Weight, and your level of Health Risk. It also has nutritional calculators to determine your daily Caloric Needs, your Fat Needs, your Protein Needs and you Carbo Needs.

Latest in Cybernaut

More by Andrew Mitchell

© 1994-2019 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation