Ask The Guyatitian! BMI…Bogus Mass Index?

Posted: June 14, 2010 in Ask The Guyatitian
Tags: , , , ,

Dear Guyatitian:

Where do you stand on BMI? Is it an accurate gage of health?

Cathy L.

Cathy:

The use of Body Mass Index (BMI) as a tool for assessing health remains controversial though it may have a role in estimating health risks. BMI alone does not always accurately reflect lean mass and does not take into account where weight is carried. If you haven’t received “the memo” yet, carrying weight around the mid section is far more riskier to your health than carry extra weight through the butt and hips. In fact researchers from Pettis VA Medical Center found that factors affecting adoposity (fat accumulation)  is separate from those that affect overall body size meaning that a high weight is not necessarily directly associated with a high percentage of fat.

And what gets my undies in a bundle is where BMI is used in the workplace as an incentive for insurance premium discounts. Case in point. I recently worked with a lady who got her BMI down from 32.9 to 25.0. In order for her to get a discount on her health care premium, she needed to be at a BMI of 24.9. They denied her when she weighed in at her screening!! Though we also showed her employer that her body fat was low (18%), she was still denied. They didn’t even take into account that she was fully clothed! THAT is a classic example of BMI gone wrong!!

BMI is ONE tool in assessing someone’s health, NOT the be all and end all. Sorry you asked?🙂

Best,

The Guyatitian

Comments
  1. my jus says:

    hi, nice post. It is really informative and useful.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. manda says:

    thanks for sharing this. i’ve always been confused about bmi. i found you through robyn webb’s site and glad i did – i’ll be checking in regularly!

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