"But government-funded research studies have shown that many women of child-bearing age have a misconception of what it means to be overweight, with up to 40 percent saying that a normal BMI measurement of 20 or 21 looked fat to them."
Here is an article about how normal sizes of Japanese women have been falling steadily over the years, while American women are getting larger. The article says in Japan it is mostly about competing with other women, and that in large urban areas women are usually much smaller because they have more women to compare themselves to.
Japanese women here are tiny. There are many times I wonder what would happen if they were to trip and fall, because there's nothing on their legs to protect their bones. I have a BMI of 21.6, and I'm still far larger than the majority of Japanese women, of all ages.
I know my BMI because I had it checked out at the gym the other day. I had to pay about $5.50 to do it. Boooo! But they gave me this nifty little printout:
It has muscle weight, water weight, it analyzes your body type, whether or not your body is balanced. It's kinda cool, but I had trouble reading it and a lot of it seemed redundant.
At the gym, you would expect to see a lot of super skinny people there, but that's not true. Most of the people are nice and chunky, and I was really surprised the first time I went. I think it's because people go there to be healthy instead of just losing weight. The people that just want to be skinny starve themselves instead of working out. Gross.