A reader named Moira wrote in on another thread, and I thought her comment deserved its own post:
Hi. My name is Moira, and I couldn't help noticing your comment that the BMI for overweight was lowered to 25 and obesity at 30. I've also noticed in my line of work that doctors lowered what the accepted upper limit for blood pressure should be as well, from 140/90 to 130/80. And just the other day I was called full figured for the first time in my life. What does it all mean? Is there someone out there who wants me to believe that every one of us has a problem needing intervention when we might just be fine as we are?
In a word, yes I do think that. Think about how other criteria have changed over the last decade or so, too, from cholesterol guidelines to blood sugar guidelines to weight guidelines. Ask yourself if it's really credible that most adults in the U.S. need to be on medication for cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other issues. Then ask yourself the classic question in any criminal case: Cui bono? Who benefits?
Big Pharma benefits, that's who. The health care industry benefits from the medicalization of all kinds of things, from childbirth to body size. Maybe it's useful to see the current anti-obesity hysteria as part of this overall trend toward pathologizing normal human variances and processes. After all, as soon as you identify a "normal" range of anything, you automatically create an "abnormal" range as well.
What do you all think?