The problem with the BMI (Body Mass Index) for determining obesity.

The problem with the BMI (Body Mass Index) for determining obesity.

The BMI has been a one-size-fits-all gospel idea that unless we are within a certain range, we may be unhealthy in weight and size.

As many of us are realizing, one size fits all healthcare doesn’t and someone can be heavier, and more muscular but have a higher body mass index that is out of sync with how healthy they are.

The national institutes of health offer their calculator here

Enter your weight and height and it will tell you whether you are overweight or not.

BMI Categories:
Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
Overweight = 25–29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

Part of the problem is that people who are muscular will have more weight on them due to the muscular nature of their physique.

The Journal Nature recently explored the flaws behind this well-worn idea.  Check out the article below

Why BMI is flawed — and how to redefine obesity

The main diagnostic test for obesity — the body mass index — accounts for only height and weight, leaving out a slew of factors that influence body fat and health.

McKenzie Prillaman

As an obesity physician, Fatima Cody Stanford has treated many people whose weight was causing them health problems. She has plenty of success stories: one woman, for instance, returned “stunning” cholesterol, blood-pressure and blood-sugar readings after working with Stanford for about ten years.

But the woman still wanted more treatment. She was fixated on her body mass index, or BMI, which classified her as having obesity. “She wants to lose more weight”, says Stanford, who is at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

BMI, which is calculated by dividing weight by height squared, has been used for several decades as an international standard to determine healthy weights. It serves as a proxy for body fat, and higher numbers can indicate increased risk for metabolic disease and death.

But BMI does not measure body fat, and it also ignores factors that affect how healthy someone is at a given weight, including age, sex and race. Not everyone with a high BMI has poor health or a raised risk of death1–3.

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