Jacques Peretti continues his series about the diet industry with a look at the definition of a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) and how its reclassification offered a huge opportunity for the food, medical and drugs industries to make a killing.
When Professor Philip James, with more than £1m of funding from drugs companies, determined that a BMI of 27 was no longer healthy and set 25 as the new threshold, 29 million Americans immediately became classed as overweight. James is a good, concise contributor: categorical in his denial of companies having any agenda, even as their possible consumer base expanded by millions overnight.
From here, Peretti constructs a fascinating doc that never flags, keeping our interest by including everything from an interview with photographers’ agent Danny Hayward, who recalls a staged campaign with Jade Goody that spanned six months of yo-yo weight loss issues, to Michael in Malmo, trialling a new device enabling him to eat whatever he wants, chew it very thoroughly, then disgorge some 30 percent of it immediately via a tube he attaches to his stomach… Think bulimia but from a different body part. Though probably best not to think about it too much.
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