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Why BMI Is a Big Fat Scam

Body Mass Index (BMI) Weighing Scale

Story at-a-glance -

  • Body mass index (BMI), a formula that divides your weight by the square of your height, is one of the most commonly used measures of overweight, obesity, and overall health
  • Initially, BMI was primarily a tool used by insurance companies to set premiums (people with BMIs in the “obese” category may pay 22 percent more for their insurance compared to those in the “normal” category
  • BMI is a flawed measurement tool, in part because it uses weight as a measure of risk, when it is actually a high percentage of body fat that increases your disease risk
  • BMI also tells you nothing about where fat is located in your body, and the location of the fat, particularly if it's around your stomach (visceral fat), is more important than the absolute amount of fat when it comes to measuring certain health risks
  • Your waist-to-hip ratio is a more reliable indicator of your future disease risk because a higher ratio suggests you have more visceral fat

By Dr. Mercola

In 1832, a Belgian mathematician named Adolphe Quetelet developed what is today known as the body mass index (BMI). The formula divides a person's weight by the square of his height, and is one of the most commonly used measures of excess weight, obesity, and overall health.


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