Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I knew it!

I knew it! Body Mass Index (BMI) is bad science, bad statistics, and a completely unreliable way to "diagnose" obesity. Now I have actual arguments, thanks to NPR and math guy Keith Devlin.
My favorite point in his list of 10:
2. It is scientifically nonsensical.
There is no physiological reason to square a person's height (Quetelet had to square the height to get a formula that matched the overall data. If you can't fix the data, rig the formula!). Moreover, it ignores waist size, which is a clear indicator of obesity level.
Ha! I knew that formula seemed strange. And it doesn't work for people who are fit and athletic, especially not those who do any sort of weight training. If you calculate my BMI, for example, I am overweight, almost obese. If you take my body fat measurements with  calipers, I have a low body fat percentage for a woman, almost that of an actual athlete.

Apart from insurance companies who use BMI to charge healthy people more money, measurements like the BMI are tools used by lazy women's magazines and diet companies to shame women and their bodies, instead of teaching them how to love their bodies - as they are at that very moment - eat healthy meals, how to get exercise and learn to love it. And in my (not so) humble opinion, the world would be a much better place without such bogus, demeaning, and harmful pseudo-science.

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