Tuesday, July 20, 2010

BMI: The Imperfect Measurment Of Obesity

Well, the cats' finally out of the bag.

After 16 months of digging around the thousands of pages of the Stimulus Bill, it has now been uncovered that health care professionals will be mandated, by law. to include the calculated Body Mass Index (BMI) for each of their patients as part of a centralized, electronic health-record database that will be established by 2014 (Click here to See Story: Obesity Rating for Every American Must Be Included in Stimulus-Mandated Electronic Health Records, Says HHS).

Why this mandate is even in a law that was aimed at "stimulating the economy" just proves the kind of deceit that the Democrats have been practicing with the passage of these multi-thousand-page laws that nobody has the time or inclination to read. God only knows what else is hidden in the Stimulus bill, the ObamaCare law, and in the Financial re-regulation law; each over two thousand pages long.

The problem with BMI is that it is an imperfect measurement of obesity. It falsely assumes that height and weight are the sole determining factors in establishing obesity. It completely ignores the ratio of fat-to-muscle that actually makes up someone's body weight. Because of this overly simplified number, many people, who exercise regularly and who have "bulked up" and have low body fat levels, are going to be falsely categorized as obese. That's why almost every sports athlete and many "leading men" in Hollywood have been inaccurately categorized as obese using the BMI formulation.

First off, this means that obesity in America will be overstated when the numbers are finally calculated in the central database. Secondly, it is highly possible, somewhere down the line, that all people with high BMI measurements could be stigmatized; resulting in higher health insurance premiums or, even, the denial of some medical services.

In my opinion, the missing factors in the BMI calculation are the inclusion, somehow, of waist and hip measurements. Certainly, when it comes to men, it is the big bellies that separate the obese men from the George Clooneys' and the Arnold Schwarzeneggers of the world. For women, it is typically the hips. That's why, whenever you see a TV media story about obesity, they always show lead-in videos with shots of men's guts and women's butts.

The currently calculated BMI is something that is best left between a health care professional and his or her patient. Only then is there true verification as to whether or not someone is healthy with a high BMI or truly obese. As far as keeping a centralized database to measure the BMI of Americans, let's develop a formulation that really works and that is 99.9% accurate; otherwise, every Gold's Gym member, and many many others, will be included on the government's fat list. Lastly, let's not forget, too, that people with extremely low BMI's can be at a higher health risk than many people with high BMI's. In fact, a low BMI can be an indicator of some kind of serious health problem; including things such as depression, anorexia, or, possibly, cancer.

Once again, the Democrats have demonstrated their desire to constantly separate Americans into little boxes. And, you know dam well that their intention will be to use this information to support future legislation against the things they don't like by possibly proposing legislation that would ban things like potato chips and sodas. Maybe, too, they'll use this info to come up with another form of taxation: The BMI tax. For Democrats, information is truly power -- the power of further developing a nanny state where the government directs your every move in life as if we were all mindless idiots who need saving from our selves.


Cheryl Pass said...

That Stimulus Bill has many more dastardly nasties in it. It makes way for micro-chipping each of us as well as this national data base of everyone's medical files. It has the Ezekiel Emanuel "complete lives system" embedded into the language. (AKA rationing)

Let me out of here....please repeal that Stimulus Bill along with the Obamacare Bill. In fact, everything the guy has signed needs to go straight into the garbage disposal as fast as we can stuff it all in there!

Dennis Hall - KK7X said...

Just what we need is a BMI tax. I am 5'5" and weigh 178 lbs (down from 210). I swim, run and cycle at least 6 days a week. I rode over 3,000 miles on my bicycle last year alone. According the the BMI charts I am borderline Obese. The BMI charts do not take into account your fitness and muscle. What is the fat to muscle ratio. Next up they will be taxing the air we breathe.