I started to think about Body Mass Index a while ago, but only when I started to get ever-so-slightly hints from my partner that maybe I was carrying one or two extra kilos. So, I measured myself https://www.bmicalculator.ie/ and discovered with horror that my score was verging on ‘obese’. My reaction has been one of putting more exercise into my life, watching my diet and all of that. I have just recalculated and my BMI is 25.5 – “this is considered (ever-so-slightly)  overweight, and should try to lose a little weight” the oracle tells me. But why should you or I bother?

A great question indeed, particularly given that nearly two thirds of the Irish population has a BMI over 25 https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-wbn/thewellbeingofthenation2017/hlt/– and to make the question perhaps even more consequential and urgent, the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland estimates https://www.rcpi.ie/policy-and-advocacy/rcpi-policy-group-on-obesity/ that 90% of the Irish population will be either overweight or obese by, can you believe it, by 2030. So, it looks as if I’m in the company of many others who are, or will be, potentially putting themselves and their health at risk.

I do care enough about this problem that I and others have gathered together on a programme we call Tri-Factor https://www.trifactorhealth.ie/ to look at the link between the weight phenomenon and mental health conditions and provide a programme which might start the process of a change to something better. Working with the eminent GP, Dr. Noreen Kelly from Bandon, we are now in the process of commencing a clinical trial which will give the work a basis in research. And, if that wasn’t enough, I have gone ‘all in’ and will be commencing a PhD at the Centre for Mental Health and Community Research to consider additionally what is it about the discourse of our society, or the “social bond” as the great psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan called it, that means that Ireland is fast becoming a world leader in the area of obesity.

I’m going to work on being at a satisfactory weight level by the end of next month so that I won’t have to describe myself as being overweight. And I really hope that you care for me, because I do.