Wednesday, June 13, 2007

If this doesn't scare you spitless...

The AMA and CDC have apparently decided to do the impossible -- eliminate one end of a bell curve.

As any tenth grade biology student can tell you, in any population there is a natural distribution of traits. In traits that can be quantified, the traits generally follow normal distribution , more commonly known as a bell curve.

My first exposure to normal distribution happened as a result of standardized testing in elementary school (an entirely different evil deserving of its own series of rants), where scores were given in percentiles rather than actual scores. On those tests it didn't matter how many you actually get right or wrong, rather, how many you got correct compared to every one else who took the test. So, if everyone who took the test answered 1 right, and you answered 2 right, you got the highest score, regardless of whether the test was 10, 100, or 1000 questions.

In normal distribution, there are always extremes. There is always a top 10 percent and a bottom 10 percent. That can't change. The actual numbers may shift, but since normal distribution is based on comparison, not hard data, it is impossible to eliminate a portion of the curve.

Despite these realities of math, the AMA and CDC have decided, in their infinite "wisdom", to eliminate one end; specifically, the top 15% of children according to weight.

The war on fat kids has begun. The 50-billion dollar a year diet industry has won; by the way, they don't care about children's' health, as long as they get to keep making money.

Click the link. Read the article. It will chill your blood.

Never mind that overwhelming evidence indicates that weight is primarily genetically determined, that diets don't work, and that one's weight as a child does not correlate with one's weight as an adult. Never mind that the BMI is notoriously unreliable as a predictor of health. Evidence apparently matters not a bit to these esteemed agencies, who have decided they know better than parents about children's' health and nutrition, and that nothing matters more than eliminating the evil fat kids.

Big brother is here, and he hates fat people.


Candace said...

hmmm, I have many thoughts on this, but the one that scares me the most is just government stepping in where they don't belong. However, I also see why - as we approach socialized medicine, they're (and us, essentially) will be footing the bill for all the medications given to unhealthy people, overweight or not, and this is just their way of trying to get ahead of a problem they will have in the future. This is where I slam my fist down, not at the "war against fat kids" but at our government thinking they have a say in everything, and then thinking they can control everything.

Erin said...

Candace, I agree with you, part of the issue here is government interference with lifestyle choices, and I have serious issues with any government infringement on personal liberty. But the things that concenr me even more are twofold -- first, that this is essentially an attack on children, who NEED food for growth and brain development, and secondly, that it is an attack on something that is primarily not a lifestyle issue at all, but a genetic one. It's like implementing a government program to eliminate blondness.