Monday, August 21, 2006

Gee, Ya Think?

The standard measure of obesity known as body mass index, or BMI, is badly flawed and a more accurate gauge should be developed, according to doctors in the United States.

Gee, you think that a random height/weight calculation that's not adjusted for *actual* body mass percentages, let alone gender and fitness level, might be a bad indicator of overall health?

I've always considered it about as scientific as phrenology, myself.

How many more years are we gonna get this thing thrown at us before it's retired?

Writing in Friday’s Lancet medical journal, the researchers from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minn., found that patients with a low BMI had a higher risk of death from heart disease than those with normal BMI.

At the same time overweight patients had better survival rates and fewer heart problems than those with a normal BMI.

4 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

"At the same time overweight patients had better survival rates and fewer heart problems than those with a normal BMI."

Hmmm...considering that BMI is touted as a measure of "health" doesn't this sound like what is considered "overweight" by BMI standards should actually be labeled as "normal"?

I've always thought the BMI (and it's predecessor, the height/weight charts) were bunk. I've been large and small at various stages of my life but even at my smallest my BMI would have still been "overweight"...and at the time I wore a size 6. So it's all bs.  

Posted by rsrott

Kameron Hurley said...

considering that BMI is touted as a measure of "health" doesn't this sound like what is considered "overweight" by BMI standards should actually be labeled as "normal"?

But that would encourage people to be FAT, and then we'd all realize, once and for all, that it's 90% fat-phobia and 10% health, and we can't be having that...

Yea, I tend to have my own standards of health. As I well know, my lowest weight was by far the least healthy weight I've ever attained... and I was *still* considered overweight according to the BMI.

It's all a little silly. Which is why I don't know how they've managed to cling to it for so long.

Karin said...

This puts an interesting light on a story I just read about the British Fertility Society recommending that obese women be denied publicly funded fertility treatments in England and Wales unless they can show they've tried to lose weight.

Having gone through pregnancy as a relatively healthy person, I can attest to the toll it takes on one's body. Losing weight, quitting putting bad crap into your body, and exercising is a really good idea, and more so when you're pregnant. It seems also responsible to do what you can to help keep yourself around and in relatively good condition while your kid is growing up. It CAN be dangerous to take on being pregnant if your health isn't good.

But the first thing they mention as a benchmark is BMIs. I'm also kind of a chunky person (more so post-baby) -- I exercise and don't smoke. Haven't had my BMI done recently, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were pushing, if not over, the "normal weight". Don't know that I'd be down with that number being held over my head if I were doing all the other "right things."

Maybe not the best starting point for that line in the sand.

Meowomon said...

As a 5'7" 240 pound female with a total cholesterol of 169 (good hi and lo ratio)triglyceriedes of 89 and no heart disease, strokes or diabetes in my "fat" family, I agree.