Dozens of blogs and gossip sites are buzzing right now about the American woman who apparently set the record for having the World's Biggest Hips-but this claim deserves a second look.
There's no denying that Mikel Ruffinelli, 39, of Los Angeles, Calif., has pretty large hips. According to the Huffington Post, she weighs 420 pounds and has hips measuring 8 feet in circumference.
Ruffinelli's hips make it hard for her to walk through doors, the Huffington Post reports, and she has to use a special "reinforced chair at home to accommodate her frame." When she flies on an airplane, she has to buy two seats. But Ruffinelli says that while her large hips sometimes give her trouble, she loves her body and has no desire to diet.
"I do eat lots," she told Closer. "It sounds like a lot to have 3,000 calories, but for someone my size, it's not really. I might have a breakfast of two eggs with sausage and bacon and a handful of potatoes. Lunch is friend fish and French fries, but dinner's my big meal."
It's easy to get caught up in these lurid details, and it's easy to gawk at all the shocking photos of Ruffinelli's unusually wide midsection.
But who says she even has the world's biggest hips? Not the Guinness Book of World Records, but rather, an association called the 'World Record Academy,' which upon closer examination looks slightly suspicious.
For one thing, it appears that almost everyone who applies for 'world record' status from World Records Academy gets it. The Academy is a "fast verification & certification service," their website reads. "90% of the new world records applications are verified within 3 days only!"
The Academy's website also emphasizes their ability to promote new records on the Internet. "All new records are published within hours on Google News," the site boasts, "making your record known worldwide, especially to the media!"
The Academy could still be legitimate, but it sound suspiciously like a self-promotion service.
So does Mikel Ruffinelli have the world's biggest hips? Maybe she does, and maybe she doesn't. In any case, it doesn't hurt to take these kinds of stories with a grain of salt.