Quotulatiousness

July 10, 2012

BMI: Badly Misleading Indicator

Filed under: Health, Media — Tags: , , , — Nicholas Russon @ 09:04

Lewis Page explains why being too thin is a bad idea health-wise:

Yet another study has shown that the so-called “obesity” epidemic sweeping the wealthy nations of the world has been massively over-hyped, as new results show that is is far more dangerous to be assessed as “underweight” than it is to be assessed even as “severely obese” — let alone merely “obese” or “overweight”.

“There is currently a widespread belief that any degree of overweight or obesity increases the risk of death, however our findings suggest this may not be the case,” says health prof Anthony Jerant, lead author of the study. “In the six-year timeframe of our evaluation, we found that only severe obesity was associated with an increased risk of death.”

Most statistics in this field are still based on the now widely discredited Body Mass Index (BMI) system, under which people are assessed as “underweight”, “normal”, “overweight”, “obese” or “severely obese”. BMI, devised in the early 19th century by an obscure Belgian sociologist without medical qualifications, copes poorly with increases in height as it assumes the human body will scale up in mass in proportion to the square of height — which doesn’t allow for the fact that bodies are three dimensional — and further fails to allow for the greater cross-sectional area needed in supporting structures to carry increasing weights.

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