BMI - the Bullsh*it Measuring IndexSep 12, 2021
- ‘Underweight’: <18.5
- ‘Normal’: 18.5 – 24.9
- ‘Overweight’: 25.0 – 29.9
- ‘Obese’: 30.0>
- ‘Morbidly Obese’: 40>
How and when was it created?
The BMI equation was developed nearly 200 years ago in the mid 1800s by a Belgian astronomer (note: not a doctor) Adolphe Quetelet. It was originally known as the Quetelet Index.
- The aim of the equation was to find the ‘average man’ to help create the social ‘ideal’.
- Quetelet found his ‘averages’ by taking the measurements of white men only.
- The Quetelet Index was never intended to be used by doctors/in medicine.
Quetelet’s Index was used as a measurement as a scientific justification for eugenics (the systemic sterilization of disabled people, autistic people, immigrants, poor people, and people of colour).
BMI & Healthcare:
Ancel himself said: “If not fully satisfactory, it is at least as good as any other relative weight index as an indicator of relative obesity”, suggesting that even he knew it wasn't that great back then.
BMI – A Few of the Many Issues
- Countless scientific studies have confirmed its lack of efficacy due to it not accounting for individual differences e.g. race, muscle mass, bone density etc.
- The World Health Organisation suggests that BMI could underestimate the health risks for Asian communities.
- The Endocrine Society (a global community of physicians and scientists dedicated to accelerating scientific breakthroughs and improving patient health) suggests BMI overestimates fatness and health risks for black people.
- BMI is a measure built by and for white people – it can’t therefore accurately account for the whole of society.