Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Michelle Obama and BMI

I like Michelle Obama, I do. I didn't vote for Obama-Biden but I do like the guy and I like their family as they seem like a well-rounded healthy family. The Obama's dance together and enjoy it. Michelle is trendy and smart. Their kids seem like normal and bright little girls. And I'm sure Obama and his wife have sex when they can fit it in :) because she is seriously very pretty... he'd be crazy not to.

But this really pisses me off.

In the article "High BMI? What it means for your child, and what you can do about it" by Lyla Alphonse on Yahoo today, Michelle Obama expresses concern for her own SKINNY daughters because their BMI is supposedly creeping upwards.

When those belonging to any kind of fitness activities or in the fitness industry thought that BMI myths might slowly be breaking down, our wishful thinking was put to a harsh and grinding hault.

Here's your history lesson for the day:
Invented in 1850, a Belgian statistician named Adolphe Quetelet came up with the Quetelet Index of Obesity (or as we know it, the BMI scale). The math equation is simple:
\mathrm{BMI} = \frac{\mbox{mass} \ \mathrm{(lb)} \times 703}{\left(\mbox{height} (\mathrm{in})\right)^2}
Although very simple, it was taken as the most effective (although, not very) method of determining obesity. And at the time, it probably was the most effective! However, even though times have changed and more precise methods of determining obesity have been developed, the BMI Scale seems to win. And probably because it is simple. However, it is not anything you should live your life by. I've told overweight friends to forget two things: the Scale and the BMI Scale.

Breaking the Myths:
If you take the BMI scale seriously, Brad Pitt is overweight and George Clooney is obese.

CDC Website
Myth #1: BMI is a diagnostic tool.
False! BMI alone is not diagnostic. It can help one determine their level of health and risk for certain diseases, but honestly there are many other forms people can use to help them determine their level of health.

Myth #2: BMI determines body composition.
False! A BMI test will not tell you how much fat your body has on it. It is completely just a numerical relation between your height and weight and cannot differentiate between fat mass and muscle mass. Which is why the two men in the above cartoon have the same BMI. It cannot tell the difference between your muscle weight gained in the gym and the fat gained from McDonalds. (Ps. My sister calls it the Kate Moss Health Scale. Ha!)

There are truly more myths surrounding BMI, but honestly... they're just silly. Plain silly.

If you are trying to evaluate your own body, there are plenty of more effective and reliable sources out there to help you determine your body composition: Calipers are probably the most effective tool if used correctly but Electronic Body Fat Monitors can help you monitor your loss!

This post brought to you by: Lacey, irritated with myths that set people back in their fitness goals. :)


  1. Very interesting!
    This isn't totally relate... or related at all... but I'd be interested in your thoughts on the Biggest Loser show and their methods. I'm obsessed with that show! If you watch it too, you should do a post on it :)

  2. Great post. I'm glad you broke it down so simply.

    :) anne-marie

  3. I'm slowly getting to the point where I'm just evaluating myself with how I feel and how my clothes fit. I used to snub my nose at people like this because I NEED that scale to tell me where I am. I'm trying to get away from all of these numbers because I want to feel good and not feel like I have to be a certain number, you know? I'm SLOWLY getting there =) But it's a process and definitely takes time. I too don't believe in BMI because as it is right now, I'm on the verge of overweight according to BMI? Really? At 110lbs and about 12% bodyfat? I think not!!