Body Mass Index or BMI has been used to describe the approximate health of a person since the Journal of Chronic Diseases published a paper detailing the index in 1972. BMI, which takes into account the mass of an individual against their height, has also been used by the World Health Organization as the basis for recording obesity statistics for the past three decades.
Despite its widespread popularity, views surrounding BMI have been widely polarizing. Some argue that the index is a good enough tool to measure one's overall well-being. Still others claim that weight and height cannot be the only measure of a person's health. Fortunately, a recent study from the University of California have since showed that BMI might not be the best way to measure health.
Scientists from UCLA and UCSB have recently published a paper detailing the inadequacy of BMI. The researchers studied recent data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey. The team has discovered that people, which were tagged by BMI as obese or overweight, are considered healthy by other factors such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Moreover, the scientists have found out that 30% of the people who fall on the BMI normal range are in fact unhealthy.
The scientists have since shared their opinions on their discovery. According to them, there are a lot of factors that the BMI doesn't take into consideration.
"I think it's because a person's BMI doesn't speak to their behaviors. Although our study can't speak directly to this issue, I suspect that lifestyle factors, such as being active, are more important than BMI in predicting actual health. Generally speaking, we need to end the laser focus we have on weight and start truly focusing on health" explained Jeffrey Hunger, co-author of the paper.