Crossover Episode with the Moving Bodies Lab

May 3, 2024
A little girl standing next to a height measurement chart and smiling at it. The chart says 'Healthy Growth Chart' on it and there are pictures of Noahs Ark and all of the animals on it.

On Tuesday 20 February 2024 the Measurement Lab held a crossover working lunch with the Moving Bodies Lab. Over sandwiches, we discussed the Maintenance Phase podcast episode on ‘Is being fat bad for you’, an episode that digs into the data used to establish the relationship between weight and health. This brought together researchers from across the humanities and science faculties and generated a fascinating discussion about historical measurement of BMI, the impact of weight stigma and obesity discrimination on health, the negative health effects of weight cycling, and the relationship between body fat percentage and athletic performance. Researchers willingness to consider confounding factors that impact on health in underweight groups but not in overweight groups was discussed at length. We were also especially interested in how a ‘disability data gap’ was generated by removing participants with pre-existing conditions at lower weight levels. We concluded with a fascinating discussion of the measurement of childhood obesity in Britain. We also discussed the critique of growth charts applicability to breastfed babies and the World Health Organisation (WHO) 2006 updated growth chart that responded to these critiques. The WHO growth standards, and its selection of children living under ideal rather than average circumstances with mothers engaged in ‘fundamental health-promoting practices’ remains a topic of interest to the Measurement Lab and we hope for further discussion on this topic.

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