At first glance, Darryl Roberts is an unlikely advocate for healthy living. By America's standards (and recent "fat" guidelines, as he calls them) Roberts is obese, along with LeBron James, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Tom Cruise, Will Smith and Christian Bale.
"We have a health problem, not a weight problem," Roberts told CNN. His beliefs don't discount our nation's obesity epidemic, but rather challenge the standard being used to gauge it, one that he says is erroneous (the BMI) and largely the work of diet companies out to make money.
It was invented in like 1830 ... and it was invented to show sizes of populations. Like, for instance, the entire population of the United States. It was never intended to be used for an individual diagnosis of someone's health and how much they should weigh. That came in the 1970s with this guy Ancel Keys when he reformulated it to the current BMI thing.
Then in 1998, some of the scientific advisers of Weight Watchers went to the government and said, "Hey, you know what? The number that's used for the overweight category for BMI should be lowered." And the government did it. They lowered it. And when they lowered it, literally 25 million people became overweight, overnight. But guess what: Those are new customers now for the dieting industry.
Roberts believes that if Americans focus instead on achieving a healthy lifestyle -- limiting fast food and exercising, for example -- then we'll be a healthier nation overall, weather we lose weight or not.
Chronicling his own journey, as well as others', Robert's film uncovers a deluge of factors that he says are contributing to body dissatisfaction (among both women and men, a population he believes is largely overlooked but equally targeted in the diet debate), many of which are being promoted by doctors, schools, the government and even the First Lady of the United States.
Roberts took up his issues with Michelle Obama last month, in an open letter to her on The Huffington Post. In September Roberts expressed "disgust" over a children's book title Maggie Goes on a Diet aimed at readers as young as six.
When he isn't after this moving target in the war on weight, Roberts is screening his film at universities, eating disorder clinics and social organizations across the country.