Friday, April 24, 2009

Weighing In

Exciting news: The French win.

They are the least corpulent of all their European neighbors. Quelle surprise(!)

A verrrry serious study released this week from the Laboratory of Quantitative Sociology within the highly respected l'Insee (The National Institute of Statistics and Economics) and published in a bulletin from the l'Institut National d'Etude Démographiques (Ined)
 has once again reassured French women they can wear whatever they wish because everything looks fantastic on their lovely lithe bodies.

The median IMC "Indice de Mass Corporelle" or as we would say BMI (Body Mass Index) in Europe is 24.5 for women and 25.5 for men. Underweight is considered to be below 18.5 and normal weight ranges from 18.5 to 25; overweight ranges between 25 and 30 IMC and obese over 30.

For French women the median IMC is 23.2, French men slip into the normal at 24.6.

The British are the big losers, weighing in at a median IMC for women of 26.2 and men at 26.

OK, now that we've all trudged through the numbers, we get to the interesting discovery from this highly serious report. It notes: "For French women the sous-poids, i.e. underweight norm is highly valued."  Some 50 percent said for them an underweight IMC was what they considered "normal."

In France the ideal IMC is considered to be 19.5 -- how they arrived at this is not clear. The researchers must have asked women who considered underweight normal and women who considered normal weight normal and divided by two. (Math has never been my strong suit which is why I chose this profession.)

Conclusion of the report -- slightly paraphrased, but not misrepresented: In sum, French women consider their ideal weight less than their neighbors which is perhaps a sign of strong pressure from their country to be slim. Oh really, who would have thought?

These findings were dissected in a media frenzy for two days. In on-the-street quickie interviews with women of all ages every-single-one, and I might add none seemed to be even slightly overweight -- although admittedly they were wearing coats -- said she was about to, or had started a mini-regime to get ready for summer body bearing. "I'm eating a little less," one admitted. Another said she needed to lose between four and five kilos (a kilo equals 2.2 pounds, in this respect my math is irreproachable) before she dared don her bikini.

Earlier in the week "Elle" did its issue on "Sexy, Ronde et Fashion" featuring three young women who claim to love la mode and their rondeur (roundness). Included in the article was the web address of 32-year-old Stéphanie Zwicky, pictured above, who wears a size 50/52 and photographs herself in various outfits to prove big is beautiful. It's in French, but I thought you might like to take a peek:


knitpurl said...

I read some time ago that we mimic our surroundings. If we live in a land of tubbies, we will tend to tubbiness. If we live in a land of slimness, we will be so. Compromise, compromise, compromise and munch on celery for me. Success and slimness is out there somewhere. Tish, did you find yarn to start those needles clicking away?

tish jett said...

Hello, KP,

I guess I moved to France too late. . . Yes, compromise, compromise, compromise unfortunately a friend of mine just delivered a chocolate mousse. What can I do?

No, haven't started my knitting because I need someone to cast on for me. Pathetic, can't even do that.

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