Lies, damn lies and statistics!

If this man lost five stone he would not be able to do his job

If this man lost five stone he would not be able to do his job

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Apparently two-thirds of the people who live in our bit of East Lancashire can be classed as obese.

And if that is not just a way of getting statistics to back up one side of an argument, I don’t know what is.

Public Health England want us all to lead healthier lifestyle.

Good call.

But calling us all a bunch of fatties is probably not the way to do it.

As a newspaperman of more than three decades, I know only too well that statistics can mean absolutely everything – as in an election result – or the complete opposite.

Mark Twain popularised the saying “lies, damn lies and statistics” and with the latest numbers available from Public Health England, I know what he was saying.

I went on the Body Mass Index calculator to see where I ranked.

The outcome should have had me calling a local undertaker and organising a funeral plan.

But I have always subscribed to a theory shared frequently with me over the years by a fellow “gym rat” that if you keep your heart and lungs healthy, just about the rest of your life will look after itself.

Anyone who follows my activities on Twitter will know just how much time I spend either walking or in the gym.

But the BMI calculator does not seem to take any of that into account.

I will happily run the Pennine Lancashire 10k race in June and I know that I will beat last year’s time.

But according to the BMI calculator, I should be shifting around 35lbs – yes two and a half stone – to be healthy enough to do it.

If I lost that much weight, I would fly away in winds like we saw earlier in the week.

I didn’t go looking for other examples, one fell into my lap.

England rugby union captain Chris Robshaw apparently needs to lose more than five stone to be classed as healthy.

For those of you unfamiliar with this particular sportsman, he is pictured right.

Take five stone away from this man and he would not be able to do his job.

As a colleague commented: “It’s all nonsense really, isn’t it!”