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article imageTime to stop using BMI as a health measure?

By Tim Sandle     Feb 5, 2016 in Health
The body mass index (or BMI) is a long established method for assessing whether someone is of the correct weight (and therefore healthy) or underweight or overweight (and thus unhealthy). But is BMI accurate and meaningful as regards health?
No, it isn't meaningful to say UCLA psychologists and the preoccupation with BMI leads to more societal damage than good. The scientists state their case in the International Journal of Obesity (see: "Misclassification of cardiometabolic health when using body mass index categories in NHANES 2005–2012.")
Body mass index is the ratio of a person’s height and weight (or, more precisely, it is the body mass divided by the square of the body height, expressed in units of kilograms per square meters.) BMI is nothing new; it was invented in the nineteenth century by Adolphe Quetelet, who was a Belgian astronomer.
The guidance values attached to this calculation place people, as per U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, into categories like "underweight," "appropriate weight," "overweight" and "obese." These categories have, in recent years, become transmogrified into interpretations of "healthy."
This attachment to health is wrong, the recent science paper contends. Following this it is wrong for employers and insurance companies to use BMI to assess people.
Using the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the researchers compared BMI scores with health data, including blood pressure and glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. They found 50 percent of people classed as considered “overweight” by the BMI system to be "healthy" based on the health data; and 30 percent of the people considered to be of the "ideal weight" were unhealthy.
Based on these, and other findings, the researchers contend that linking BMI to health is wrong and using BMI measures to categorize people for the basis of making decisions of social or economic importance, such as health insurance premiums, is simply wrong.
More about BMI, Body mass index, Weight, Health, Obesity
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