How Fat Are You, Really? New Scale Lets You Tell the World

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Okay, maybe I should’ve led with “how thin are you,” so as not to offend, but isn’t that just sidestepping the latest (unsettling) CDC statistics, which claim one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%, or 1 in 3) are obese, along with about 17% (12.5 million) of children and adolescents ages 2 to 19? Wait, you’re saying, isn’t obesity on the decline? A recent Gallup poll suggests that “slightly fewer American adults were obese in 2011 (26.1%) than in 2010 (26.6%) and 2009 (26.5%).”

So there’s this scale that lets you tell the world how much you weigh…

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No really, it’s a Wi-Fi-enabled scale from Fitbit, weirdly dubbed “Aria” — that’s Italian for “air,” as well as “a long, accompanied song for a solo voice.” I sometimes sing in the shower, it’s true, but can’t say I’d ever belt out a tune (or have cause to sing one) standing on a scale.

In any event, Aria recognizes up to eight unique users (by their stats) and can pipe their information to a fitness hub in the cloud. That information includes weight, body fat percentage and body-mass index (BMI), all of which can be shared with friends or broadcast to Twitter and Facebook. Katie bar the door!

Don’t worry, Fitbit says “you control how much and what data you share,” so you’re covered privacy-wise. The idea’s actually to give you tools to set and share goals with others, say you want to stage your own social-networked version of The Biggest Loser. There’s also a tracking tool that lets you check stats in graph form and monitor how things are going over time instead of singularly (Fitbit quips “No need to dread the weigh-in”).

If you want to fold your diet into the process, Fitbit includes a food planner that lets you log what you’re eating and how many calories you’re consuming. And if you’re an achievement hound (I’m looking at you, couch-bound console gamers), there’s even an award system that lets you earn badges based on your progress. All of the above integrates with Fitbit’s freebie iPhone app.

Available? In late April 2012, looks like, though you can preorder one in black or white for $129.95 right now.

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Matt Peckham is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @mattpeckham, Google+ or Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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