BMI = Basically Meaningless Information?

by Dana on April 4, 2012

Over the years, a variety of numbers, tools, and charts have been used to to determine the level of a person’s health. When pure weight alone wasn’t proving to be effective as an immediate indicator, calculating a person’s “body mass index” (aka BMI) became the new standard.

If we ignored the fact that no person, man or woman, wants to talk about the “mass” of their body (doesn’t it make us sound like a large island in the Pacific or something?) for a while this measurement seemed to be meeting the need to get a quick snapshot of a person’s health even if, it too, had its flaws.

But with obesity on the rise, it’s important to have tools and standards that give a true picture of a person’s health and the BMI is coming under scrutiny. Both Us News and Time have articles this week citing a recent study and talking about how the BMI isn’t cutting it:

The interesting thing about this study is that it demonstrates that even those considered within a normal BMI could be “obese” because BMI does not directly measure body fat it just estimates it. A person may therefore have health risk factors that need to be addressed based on actual body composition but neither the physician nor the patient are aware.

The BMI has become “basically meaningless information” it appears.

How do you feel about the BMI coming into question? Did you (and do you) think of it as an effective way to measure your health?

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