the HAES files: is the body mass index a good measure of health?

Hey everyone,

Recently, my husband and children started playing WiiFit on our new, WiiU.  It’s a great exercise program, but what makes me uncomfortable is the focus on BMI.  Now, my husband is overweight, but he is very healthy.  Moreover, the game assumed my husband had a weight loss goal.  He doesn’t.  Yes, he wouldn’t mind losing some weight but his main goal is increasing strength and health.  

So I was going to blog about the fallacies of the BMI (body mass index) but in doing my research, I came across this article (below) and I feel like it shares all the information we need to know! I love the research that is put into this. Bottom line: BMI is bogus and we need to stop using it as a measure of health. Please click on the link to read the full post. Then, please let me know YOUR thoughts in the comments below! 

Health At Every Size® Blog

by Jon Robison, PhD, MS

The BMI is a measure of height and weight – specifically weight divided by height squared. It is the predominate measure by which health professionals and governments determine what is and is not a “healthy weight” for a particular individual, thereby informing them if they are “at risk” for morbidity and premature mortality. In reality, however, BMI is not only not a good measure of health, it is actually not a measure of health at all.

The formula itself was created around 1850 by the brilliant Belgian mathematician, astronomer and statistician Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet – and appropriately named The Quetelet Index. Dr. Quetelet was not a health professional and he was not interested in fat or health risk. He was fascinated by the idea of using statistics to draw conclusions about societies – and the “average man.” Some of us will remember…

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4 thoughts on “the HAES files: is the body mass index a good measure of health?

  1. I agree with you, Patricia, BMI is totally bogus for so many reasons. It literally has a ‘one size fits all’ approach, which we’re all coming to realise it just silly. The lack of consideration of any individualising factors like age, culture, muscle mass, and so on is such a big warning signal. I’m surprised people still use it as a measure. And, just like the article you linked says – it’s not indicative of health at all! I’ve been doing some research recently for a post on the ‘obesity paradox’, which highlights the same sort of idea: weight and health are not necessarily linked how we imagine them to be.
    Thanks for getting us thinking about this 🙂

    1. No problem. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your response! I really appreciate hearing from other’s and getting feedback. Have you looked much into Health At Every Size® ? It really speaks to what you were saying.

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