BMI – A Dangerous Standard

July 4, 2015 at 8:08 pm Leave a comment

At this point, everyone knows that approximately 1/3rd of the U.S. population was declared obese practically overnight. But do you know why?

The answer is simple. The long standing and clinically proven actuarial tables correlating height, weight, bone structure and longevity were ditched in favor of an unproven theory called Body Mass Index (BMI) that was devised in the mid-1800s by a Belgian polymath during the development of something he called “social physics.” I don’t even know what that term means. The reason he produced the formula was to give a quick and easy way to measure the degree of obesity of the general population to assist the government in allocating resources. He specifically stated that is was not to be used to determine whether an individual was obese; he only intended it to be used for the study of large populations.

Here are some facts you should know about the BMI and what is wrong with it:

  1. The BMI calculation is very biased, specifically against taller people and people with lean muscle mass. The equation used to determine BMI is

BMI = 703 X mass (in pounds) / height2 (in inches)

Where 703 is the conversion factor from the metric to the American system. People with BMI values ranging from 18.5 to 24.9 are categorized as normal, from 25.0 to 29.9 as overweight, and 30 and above as obese. Here’s the issue: our bodies are 3-dimensional. So, as you get taller, the bottom value should be height3. However, the mathematician who devised the formula didn’t care for that outcome, so he fudged the formula. Kind of like the global warming scientists who “tweaked” the data to get the curve they wanted.

  1. Your mass in pounds is only a surrogate measure of body fat. It is only moderately correlated with body fat. One analysis concluded that BMI could only explain 44% to 58% of the variance in body fat, even after factoring in age.
  2. The BMI assumes that all people’s bodies are of equal composition. This is manifestly false. It doesn’t account for differences in body shape, relative bone mass and differences in density between muscle and fat. Physically fit individuals (who have a higher proportion of muscle tissue) will have a higher BMI and will be improperly categorized as “overweight” or “obese.”
  3. In the 1990s, the World Health Organization with absolutely no evidence reduced the upper limits of the BMI normal category from 27.8 for men and 27.3 for women to 24.9 for both sexes. Instantly, as many as 25 million Americans became overweight. Authorities never mention this change when they cite statistics claim that more Americans are obese than ever. Can you say “intellectual dishonesty?”
  4. Even worse, recent research that individuals classified as “overweight” (BMI from 25 – 29.9) have lower mortality overall. Yet, these findings are routinely ignored. As long ago as 2005, I was pointing out the problems with BMI, including the fact that the CDC is suppressing information about the BMI being too low for optimal health.

However, none of these facts now matter. In 2014, the government mandated that all electronic medical records must contain the patient’s BMI information. If the providers do not comply, they will have their Medicare and Medicaid payments slashed. Of course, if you are classified as obese, your insurance rates will go up, and you may even be forced into taking toxic drugs to lower your BMI. Our obsession with body weight is the last acceptable prejudice.


Entry filed under: Weight Loss.

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