Belenen (belenen) wrote,

health cannot be measured by BMI, nor by weight.

This is a topic that many people are deeply invested in. It tears down a ranking system, and that always causes uproar -- even from those whom it oppresses. Those whom it oppresses may not be the highest in the ranking system, but at least they aren't as 'bad' as those below them, and for those who have low self esteem, that comparison is very important. Also, there is simply a fear of the unknown -- in this case, life without a certain type of comparison.

Health cannot be accurately measured by weight. (neither can beauty, but that is another subject) Our society has a ranking system called BMI -- a number calculated by your height and weight -- that supposedly tells us how healthy we are. The more healthy, the better, as we praise supposedly 'fit' people. However, this ranking system is inherently flawed. First of all, it was created as a tool for statistical analysis -- to be able to create groups based on rough body size, for studies. It was never intended to be a measurement of health, and has not been tested for accuracy. For instance, no one has ever proven that a 5'5" woman is any more healthy at 140 pounds than she is at 120 or 160. You'd think with a chart used to diagnose people as being healthy, extensive testing would have been done at every level -- but since BMI was not intended for that purpose, it has not been.

BMI does not take into account muscle (which weighs more than fat) or frame size, and more importantly it does not take into account how active a person is or how healthily they eat. Many studies have shown that activity level has far more to do with fitness than weight does. Weight is a symptom of ill health -- it only becomes a cause of ill health in extreme cases. Increasing one's fitness will do much more for one's health than decreasing one's weight. We think we can look at a person and determine how fit they are by how thick they are -- but the fat and active are healthier than the thin and inactive.

"Dr Rick Kausman, Australian Medical Association spokesman, believes in looking beyond body size — instead focusing on fitness as a measure of true health. 'We’ve been brainwashed to believe that healthy weight is a size 8 . . . We’re clearly not all meant to have a BMI of 22, or be a size eight or 10,' he says. 'Human beings are meant to come in all shapes and sizes. We have to allow our weight to be the healthiest it can be to us, not to anyone else.'" --

"Paul Campos, law professor at the University of Colorado and author of The Obesity Myth, agrees. 'What a healthy weight is for you as an individual has little or nothing to do with what a healthy weight is for anybody else,' he explains. 'Within a very broad range, a healthy weight is the weight that a particular individual maintains while living a healthy life.'" --

"'I don't believe height and weight is a good indication of health,' said Joanne Ikeda, co-director of the Center for Weight and Health at the University of California at Berkeley. 'If a fat person or obese person has normal blood pressure, if their total cholesterol and glucose levels are normal and they are healthy, there is no reason they should necessarily have to lose weight.'" --

LJ idol topic 13: "Current Events" ((if you liked/got something from this, please vote for me))
Tags: body image, health, rants, the essential belenen collection, writing prompts

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