What do basketball stars Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, and Ben Wallace all have in common? Pound for pound they’re some of the best players in the NBA — but they aren’t considered fit by obesity scaremongers. The U.S. government actually considers them “overweight.” Lakers superstar Shaquille O’Neal is officially “obese.” In fact, by the federal government’s standard, 75 percent of the players in the NBA Finals are classified as either overweight or obese. Find out if you’re “overweight” like Kobe Bryant with our body-mass index calculator.

Why does the government think these top athletes need to lose weight? Because current government standards make no distinction between muscle and fat. And in 1998, the U.S. government changed the cutoff for overweight. As a result, more than 30 million Americans (including Bryant and Wallace) were shifted from a government-approved weight to the overweight category — without gaining an ounce.

The same standard that misclassifies Lakers and Pistons as too heavy is behind the continuous flow of alarmist headlines touting the horrors of the growing “obesity epidemic.” It serves to create an artificial “crisis” (or epidemic) that requires Draconian policy shifts. The self-described “food police” at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, trial lawyers led by John “Sue the Bastards” Banzhaf, and government bureaucrats all love to take advantage of misleading statistics about the number of overweight Americans to advance their agenda of “fat taxes” and obesity lawsuits.