Posted by: B | 2008/05/30

BMI conspiracy?

Hi Dr Diet

I'm wondering - is it possible that the current BMI-system is just slightly off-track? (maybe developed by McDonald's marketing team?) My BMI is 19 at the moment; yet i certainly don't look underweight. About 3 years ago it was 22 (the 'perfect' number) BUT i looked bloated and uncomfortably fat. (This is not because I have a very low muscle mass - i run or walk regularly and i lift weights. )

What's your opinion? I have noticed this in some of my friends as well, even in 20-30yr olds. (I'm 22; female)

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear B
One needs to remember that the BMI and Waist-to-Hip ratio are just tools that can be used to assess body weight and body fat. In some cases, esp in sportsmen and women, or body builders who have a very large percentage of muscle tissue, it is not productive to use the BMI. In such cases one would need to measure skinfold thickness or even do a labelled water test, but this is not generally applied to non-athletes. Then there is also the problem of distorted body perception. Many young women and men are under the impression that they are 'fat' when they are actually bordering on underweight. This is probably due to the relentless pressure of the media and the examples of media idols like film stars and models who have BMIs of 14 and 15. In general a BMI of 19 is considered as being low and a BMI of 22 as ideal.
Best regards

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