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Researchers Find Inaccuracies in the Body Mass Index

BMI

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A Journal of Science report was published on Friday stating that the body mass index (BMI) is not as accurate as once thought when it comes to associating a high measurement with the occurrence of certain health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

The assertions were made by Dr. Rexford Ahima and Dr. Mitchell Lazar who are with the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

The report discusses what it refers to as the “obesity paradox” which states that some studies have shown that a high BMI reading is not always an indicator that an obese person will be susceptible to diseases associated with being overweight.

The researchers also stated that in some cases non-morbid obesity actually improved a person’s longevity and resistance to these diseases.

BMI measurements have long been used as a risk indicator for developing heart disease, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and other life threatening conditions.

Some life insurance companies have even used a person’s BMI measurement in determining risk and underwriting policies.

The researchers also called for improvements in measuring obesity and identifying a person’s optimal weight. They expanded on this further by expressing the need to include genetics, age, gender, and health history into a new standard of measurement for determining a person’s health risks.

A BMI measurement is done by taking a person’s weight in kilograms and dividing it by their height in meters. A normal BMI reading will be in the 18 to just under 25 range. After that, persons measuring between 25 and just under 30 are classified as overweight. Any measurement 30 and above classifies the person as obese.

Since the BMI became recognized, doctors have used a reading of 30 or above as a red flag to indicate that the patient could fall victim to any of the diseases associated with obesity.

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Posted by on Aug 24 2013. Filed under Featured, Health, New. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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