216-Everything the BMI Gets Wrong with Alissa Rumsey RD – The Weight Loss Series Part 3

Everything-the-BMI-gets-wrong-Stephanie Dodier

In today’s episode, we’ll talk about everything the BMI gets wrong

Are you “overweight”? Am I “overweight”?

That single question creates more anxiety & stress to women than any other question. Being overweight implies that there’s a weight we should be at. In today’s society, THAT weight is determined by BMI.

The Body Mass Index, the metric that uses to classify people in groups. Moreover, it’s the measure of “obesity” as per medical view and a simple calculation of 2 factors: weight and height. To convert the measurement to the unit of BMI in kg/m2, you must divide the weight in pounds by the height in inches squared, then multiply by 703.

My BMI Story

For the purpose of this article, I did my BMI calculation using the official CDC BMI calculator. If you are between 18-24.9 you are deemed normal, 25-29.9 “overweight” and 30 or above “overweight”. I bet you’re curious to know my result? 39. I’m considered a class 2 “obese”.

As a matter of fact, for the longest, I can remember I was never not considered “overweight” based on BMI. During one of my many diet cycles in my adulthood, I remember hitting one of my lowest body weights, 180 lbs., body fat of 18% and wore size 8 p but when I calculated my BMI: “overweight”.

I remember the day I did the calculation and seeing the result. It sent me down a spiral of shame and binging. I still wasn’t enough.

Not only was I healthy as ever but also had just received a full annual health check and no longer was considered pre-diabetic. My cholesterol was well below normal, my blood pressure was stellar, my inflammation blood markers were the lowest they could be… and overweight.

Is BMI an accurate measure of health?

What happens if you are over-the BMI weight prescribe? Is BMI ratio an accurate measure of health?

Many experts disagree that just stating the fact that BMI ratio was never created with the intention of measure of health.

Recently, a 2016 study by researchers at UCLA published this month in the International Journal of Obesity looked at 40,420 adults in the most recent U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and assessed their health as measured by six accepted metrics (not including BMI) blood pressure, triglyceride, cholesterol, glucose, insulin resistance and C-reactive protein.

It found out that 47 percent of people classified as “overweight” by BMI and 29 percent of those who qualified as obese were healthy as measured by at least five of those other metrics.

Meanwhile, 31 percent of normal-weight people were unhealthy by two or more of the same measures.

That means, we can be healthy and yet be considered “overweight”. It bears the question: Over what weight exactly?

So, why do we worry about BMI?

What you’ll learn listening to this episode:

  • The history of the BMI
  • How to determine your health status
  • The many health impacts of weight stigma.
  • Health at Every Size & Weight neutral approach to health

Mentioned on the show:

Start with our Intuitive Eating Guide

Study on Health Marker Beyond BMI

Body Respect Book

Tools for weigh-in at a doctor visit

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