Everyone knows that being overweight is not healthy. It can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and many other health issues. However, some researchers are suggesting that Body Mass Index (BMI) may not be the best measure of obesity for many people. The problem is that BMI is very simple in that your health professional simply measures height and weight and starts yelling at you to lose weight and exercise.
“Most studies depend on BMI, and we know it’s not a very accurate measure,” said Dr. Rexford Ahima, a medical professor at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. No single number can represent a healthy weight, Ahima said. He added that it depends on starting weight, genetics and gender, among other factors.
Athletes with a higher than normal amount of muscle or elderly people who have lost height are also bad candidates of BMI. Finally, BMI has been used because it’s simple, cheap, and easy but more accurate tests are available, they just cost a lot more so they’re seldom used. The debate will continue until a single, cheap and accurate test can be found. Until then, a second opinion and a smaller helping at the buffet are probably both good advice.
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