I sure am glad we’ve got a news organization like NPR in this country (ahem, hear that Congress?). NPR’s “math guy” Keith Devlin went on Weekend Edition Saturday to completely rip the body mass index, or BMI, a measure used in the U.S. to tell people they’re fat and unhealthy and should generally feel bad about themselves (what, that last part’s not what BMI’s supposed to be doing? Because I see a hell of a lot more fat shaming than anything else).
Devlin’s put together an amusing and enlightening list of 10 reasons why the BMI is bad science and bad policy. A little taste:
8. It makes the more cynical members of society suspect that the medical insurance industry lobbies for the continued use of the BMI to keep their profits high.
Insurance companies sometimes charge higher premiums for people with a high BMI. Among such people are all those fit individuals with good bone and muscle and little fat, who will live long, healthy lives during which they will have to pay those greater premiums.
Check out all 10 reasons and Devlin’s interview — they’re enlightening and seriously call into question the media and government panic every time reports about BMI in the US pop up. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go find something to eat — reading about the BMI always makes me hungry.