I recently read a “tweet” that said “BMI is trash. Full stop!” I thought I was dreaming but true, it was posted on twitter, and it received 26,500 likes and almost 3,000 retweets! The idea of BMI was conceived in 1832 by Belgian anthropologist and mathematician Adophe Quetelet. 1832? Haven’t we learned more about our bodies than we knew in 1832? He was a very bright man; indeed, he didn’t name BMI after himself, thus staying under the radar!
In fairness, the goal was not to tell you “you are fat” but rather to measure people’s weight changes in proportion to their height over their lifetime. Then insurance companies began using weight as an indicator of health, our health status was based on arbitrary cut-offs on the “Life Table” and in 1972, Dr. Ancel Keys, a physician and leading expert in body composition, sought to standardize the use of weight as a health indicator and used Quetelet’s calculation, calling it BMI (body mass index).
I don’t know about you, but when I went to see my primary care doctor, I was weighed and when we were discussing my health he asked “how tall are you?” I of course said 6’ 10”, knowing he was going to convert my weight and height into a BMI score. He didn’t laugh, no sense of humor. Bottom line, BMI, Life Tables, digital scales, doctor office scales, it doesn’t matter. This is really one thing you have the most control over, staying healthy, eating healthy, exercising and feeling good about YOU! Let’s not ponder the unsolvable dilemma, let’s live, enjoy life, work at a healthier lifestyle and stop reading the research studies! Stay well and stay informed!
For more information: When Do We Stop Using BMI to Diagnose Obesity?