Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Panic in the streets

 [Rescued from Drafts]

The Sunday Age has a front page story on obesity:
Body Mass Index is calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by their height in metres. While a healthy BMI is considered to be between 20 and 25, Dr Frydenberg reported seeing patients with BMIs of 70. An index of 30 is classified obese, 40 morbidly obese and more than 50 super obese.
A quick check shows that yes, I am morbidly obese. A slightly more sensible check shows that Body Mass Index is calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by the square of their height in metres, bringing me down to merely obese.
If this doesn't induce an epidemic of anorexia nothing will.

So: letter to Sunday Age
Kindly imagine the noise of a klaxon. This is a five-alarm disaster. The Sunday Age has stuffed up royally on the front page and must make immediate repairs.

The Sunday Age story on obesity says "Body Mass Index is calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by their height in metres." NO NO NO NO
Body Mass Index is calculated by dividing THE SQUARE OF a person's weight in kilograms by their height in metres.
The Sunday Age has made everybody in Australia who isn't anorexic into someone who's morbidly obese.
THIS IS NOT A JOKE.
THIS IS SERIOUS.
THIS IS DANGEROUS. Anybody with a tendency towards anorexia is going to be thrown into panic and stop eating. PEOPLE MAY DIE trying to meet this standard. AND IT WILL BE YOUR BLOODY FAULT.
You must IMMEDIATELY issue a prominent retraction in the Age and over the air (we can't wait for the next Sunday) and must change the article on your website and flag it with large red arrows.


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