Scientists generally develop their sets of rules, norms, and indexes for the good of the populous. Developing a way to more accurately or easily test something is all about how useful it can be. One of these norms is the body mass index, about which a bunch of scientists from California said that health is not necessarily linked to a low BMI.
Your health and your body mass index
The BMI was originally developed as an economic tool, but it gradually became the norm to use for classifying a person’s health. Based on the ratio between a person’s height and their weight, the BMI doesn’t take into account a large array of health factors, thus failing at providing an accurate reading.
According to the new study published by the University of California’s Janet Tomiyama in the International Journal of Obesity on Feb. 4th, many American citizens classified as overweight or obese by the BMI are actually quite healthy, while other fit individuals are very unhealthy.
Looking at the relationship between the BMI and factors such as blood sugar, blood pressure, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels, the team led by Tomiyama found some pretty interesting statistics regarding the accuracy of the BMI’s health gauging abilities.
As it turns out, 50% of all overweight Americans, 29% of Americans considered obese, as well as 16% of Americans suffering from type II or even type III obesity are actually very healthy. On the other hand, as much as 30% of all individuals with normal weight are unhealthy from a cardiac and metabolical point of view.
Some reasons to get rid of the faulty classification system
One of the main reasons to get rid of the inaccurate measure of health is that people with higher BMIs might soon have to pay extra on their insurance. This might come as a new rule from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, allowing employers to charge higher insurance rates to people with a BMI equal to or higher than 25.
But according to the researchers behind this study, that would be borderline persecution. Since doctors don’t use BMIs to gauge a person’s health, neither should insurance companies.
According to Tomiyama and her colleagues, a whopping number of health diagnoses are mistaken due to focusing too much on the BMI instead of actual health classifiers. The health levels of as many as 74,936,678 American adults are currently wrong.
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