I understand why the Body Mass Index (BMI) was created — it’s so much easier to let the computer divide two numbers (mass (kg) / height^2 (m)) than to implement some kind of bodyfat measurement. But using it as a metric to inform people whether they are healthy or not? Are you kidding me?
The general public was introduced to the BMI in the late 1990s as an initiative for healthy eating and exercise. If the government didn’t officially recommend a shitty diet in the first place, we wouldn’t have as large of a problem, but that’s another story altogether. In any case, Americans who are ignorant in the realm of health and/or exercise bought into this crappy hysteria, thinking that if they were “overweight” by the BMI standards (AKA government standards), then they needed to lose weight (ignoring body composition completely). The BMI is horse puckey because it doesn’t take into account lean body mass; it is merely a ratio of height and weight. This means that anybody who has some muscle (i.e. adult males) are considered, at the very least, overweight. And now that I think about it, I blame the government for acting as the catalyst that made America think being small is not only okay, but preferred. This is what we’re up against folks; government and society.
Anyway, this article points out how Mike Tyson (in his prime) is considered “obese”, and Lance Armstrong is considered “overweight”. On a similar note, the military uses the BMI to gauge health in their preventative health assessments. Not to mention the Air Force’s PT test includes a waist circumference measure that accounts for 30% of their total grade. And height isn’t taken into account, so a 6’7″ guy in the Air Force (I’ve met one) is measured to the same standards as a 5’7″ guy. And this somehow makes sense…?
Look America, the BMI is getting old. I don’t know how you’re going to gauge the health of your citizens — the logistics are your problem. But this index is convincing everybody to be pretty much small and worthless, and that is despicable. There are plenty of bodyfat measures, although all the bio-impedence tools are almost as worthless as a 135 pound “guy”.
Weakling society and stupid regulations aside, the BMI is branding anybody who is decently strong as “unhealthy” when this couldn’t be further from the truth. When strength is maintained properly throughout life, it serves as the primary aid in old age. Get strong, stay strong, train/exercise consistently, eat moderately healthy, and you’ll be prepared for longevity to the best of your ability. If you can ignore the doctor claiming that you’re obese…