EPISODE 89: Why the BMI is an Inaccurate Predictor of Health

Though it has been used for decades as the go-to measurement for health based on your size, in recent years, the BMI has been widely criticized for its oversimplification of what being healthy really means. 
 
Join co-coach, Steph Miramontes, and me as we discuss why the BMI is outdated, inaccurate, and needs to be drop kicked as a reliable tool for measuring health.
 
In today’s episode, you’ll learn:
  • The history of the BMI (body mass index) and how it’s been used to measure a person’s height and weight ratio to assess whether they’re underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese to qualify for certain healthcare benefits (or lack thereof)
  • Why the BMI has become a controversial hot topic in recent years and how this relates to racism and sexism
  • Why the BMI is a poor predictor of health and often creates more problems than it was intended to solve
  • If we know the BMI is an inaccurate measuring tool for health, why are doctors still using it?
  • If the BMI is a 200 year old outdated model, what else can be done affordably and efficiently to determine one’s health?

Dr Spencer Nadolsky (obesity specialist) in a recent instagram post:

 

“Saying the BMI is a useless indicator of health is like saying cholesterol or most other markers we measure are useless indicators of health. We must still evaluate the Whole individual and look at it all in context.”

 

“Body Mass Index” is NOT a worthless measure. It’s a quick screening tool that should be used correctly and assessed on an individual level before diagnosing overweight/obesity vs. muscular athletes vs. non athletes or elderly with sarcopenia)”

 

“A lean young male with a BMI of 27 is very different from an abdominally obese post-menopausal female with the same BMI. BMI doesn’t take many things into account, such as muscle mass. If everyone could get their body fat measurements taken via DEXA, doctors would just use that, but that isn’t always feasible.”

 

What has been your experience with having your BMI measured at the doctor’s office? I’d love to hear your story and how this practice was harmful or helpful to you. What are your thoughts on BMI for determining one’s health?

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