One thing that I’ve developed a deep hatred for over the years, especially recently with all the media focus on obesity in our country is the Body Mass Index (BMI). If you’re really interested in the background of it, you can go to the Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_mass_index) which has some good basic info and some links. But I honestly think most of us know what it is.
Here’s my big problem with it: they’re basing your “thickness” or “thinness” solely on your height and weight. And that is just complete and total bull. What body type is this based on? I have curves. I definitely inherited the European genes from my family. I have a friend that it a stick. And she can put down some food. So already I have a disadvantage against her due solely to our different body shapes and the added density that comes from a curvier figure. So immediately there is a flaw in the system.
Also (and along the same line as the body shape), I have a chest. There’s no factor to account for the weight that I have there. I mean, I can’t really do anything about them or the fact that they are essentially a fat and tissue deposit. They’re there and not going anywhere. So how do you balance that against a guy who doesn’t have them. Or a girl with smaller ones?
Another issue: what about people with lots of muscle? It’s a given fact that muscle weighs more than fat so if you do work out a lot or are just athletic, you gonna have a higher BMI than someone with the same body type who doesn’t have the muscle definition. I have another friend whose sister is crazy athletic. She plays a lot of different sports and has a 6-pack. She is constantly going. By the BMI’s standards: she’s obese.How is someone that is fit enough to have a 6 pack obese?
But of course, the media has to latch on and sensationalize everything to make a good story. And studies use it all the time. I mean, I understand the goal is to make people try to be healthier, but telling me I’m obese only makes me depressed because I do try. I can’t help my body shape. I had no control over my genetics so I almost feel like I’m being punished in some way for having curves. And I love my curves so I don’t want to feel that way. I just feel like there needs to be a better indicator that can take into account more variables because our bodies are all so different and height and weight alone can’t say for sure if you’re overweight or not.
And I realize that you can get a complete body “work up” that can determine your % body fat and all of that information. And that is definitely the better indicator in my mind. But the problem is you have to have it done by a specialist and it costs a pretty penny. And that isn’t exactly something that insurance companies are going to be okay with paying for.
So it ends up being a slippery slope. Go by the BMI and feel depressed and discouraged by your weight or spend a fortune to get the true analysis of your body. Or try and ignore everything that the media throws out there, which is increasingly difficult to do…….