The Limits of BMI

by Dave Schuler on December 17, 2012

Every time I read an article that cites BMI, like this one in The Economist, on how we’re getting fatter, it always strikes me. My lean body weight is higher than the standard for my height for being overweight. That means that, using BMI as a gauge, with 0% body fat I would still be overweight.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

James Joyner December 17, 2012 at 9:15 am

Clearly, Dave, you need to work on becoming taller.

Dave Schuler December 17, 2012 at 9:23 am

The old wisecrack about not being overweight but being undertall actually applies to me. If I were proportioned like most people, I’d be about four inches taller. My body is long (or my legs are short) relative to my height.

When I was in high school and college my friends tended to be around 6’5. When seated our eyes were at a level. Standing they towered over me.

Janis Gore December 17, 2012 at 10:04 am

Mr. Dave has a lot of backbone.

sam December 17, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Perhaps the BMI thing is overweighted:

In ‘Obesity Paradox,’ Thinner May Mean Sicker

Steve Verdon December 17, 2012 at 1:48 pm

I have actually been working out very seriously to lose weight. I’d like to get my body fat % down to the 10-12% range and if I did that and actually add some muscle to replace some of the fat I lose, I’d end up with a BMI that would still indicate I’d be over weight. So it is not a good metric in all cases.

No doubt right now I have weight I need to lose, but relying only on the BMI can lead, IMO, to unhealthy results in some cases.

michael reynolds December 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm

My excuse is that I have an enormous head. Really. I buy XXL hats. Size eight, which barely exists. So, much of what reads as body mass is actually brain and skull bone. It’s all head.

Well, that and the beer belly.

Dave Schuler December 17, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I knew it. You’re the Big Giant Head.

Drew December 17, 2012 at 6:06 pm

What? Michael unilaterally employing the bonehead excuse?

michael reynolds December 17, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Actually my head did play a role in a Sean Connery movie. http://pluckyoutoo.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/zardoz022005.jpg

Andy December 17, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Omg, I’m not the only one who saw Zardoz.

michael reynolds December 17, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Andy:

I’ve seen Zardoz at least three times. One of the great cult movies. Connery in a loincloth, cheezy sets, a sort of pre-Shyamalan twist, silly profundities all scored with Beethoven’s 7th, second movement.

Janis Gore December 17, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Right now, I weigh some close to 95 lbs. Pure fire.

Janis Gore December 17, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Well, not as good as any South Louisiqna girl.

Janis Gore December 17, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Sorry, TB.

Janis Gore December 17, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Where y’all come from, Mamou?

Janis Gore December 17, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Where do you stay?

Janis Gore December 17, 2012 at 10:56 pm

If you wont’t speak up, you’re redlined.

Janis Gore December 17, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I know Dave to his house number.

Janis Gore December 17, 2012 at 11:01 pm

He’s on the Google map As am I.

I plainly don’t care anymore.

Steve Verdon December 18, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Omg, I’m not the only one who saw Zardoz.

Nope, I saw it too. Great late night television movie, IMO.

Janis Gore December 18, 2012 at 6:38 pm

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