When numbers lie

IMG_6833This picture of me was taken yesterday. Yes, I was being goofy. I’m quite the goofball actually. Look at the picture. What do you see? Sick? Healthy? Strong? Weak? What comes to mind? Is this person overweight?

As some of you know I had my blood drawn last week. The results came back yesterday, and I’m generally pretty tickled by my numbers. Got a full on physical, and was told, that a person my age couldn’t be much healthier. Then they printed out a report for me to take home and sent me on my way. I skimmed the report, my height, weight, and my BMI. Under BMI the number said 24.62. I kinda sorta remembered that 25 and higher is considered being overweight.

I was curious, because I haven’t done a whole lot of research about BMI, and what this number actually means. It is calculated using your height and weight. Wikipedia says this: “Body mass index is defined as the individual’s body mass divided by the square of their height.” This method of measuring whether or not you’re overweight was invented between 1830 and 1850 by Belgian polymath Adolphe Quetelet. Of course we all know that the BMI is used all over the world to measure a person’s body fat. Why use this method and not others? The truth is, that most other methods are far more expensive, because they require actual testing on the person in question.

Every website I have looked at confirms that this number is not accurate for all people. Because we are all built differently. So much plays into our weight. Bone thickness, fat, muscle, etc etc… 

But, the problem is, that every person who diets will turn to this handy little tool… the BMI calculator. It’s easily accessible. It’s free. And it provides a number. And we are all so concerned with our numbers, we tend to forget what is really important.

Again, look at the picture. Do you see an overweight person? I don’t! So, next time, before a number drives you crazy… do a little research first. Maybe the number was simply lying. And besides, no number should have any kind of power over you…. unless it’s the number of bacon strips on your plate vs that of your spouse. 😉

One thought on “When numbers lie”

  1. Also from wikipedia is the fact that when term “body mass index” was coined and when it became popular in 1972 in a medical paper by Ancel Keys, he specifically stated it was appropriate for “population” studies and NOT appropriate for “individual” diagnosis for the reasons you stated above. There are too many variations between people with respect to bone thickness, fat, muscle, etc.

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