Your BMI is bullshit. Just ask the guy who invented it.
Adolphe Quetelet was a Belgian astronomer, sociologist, mathematician and statistician. He had no expertise, whatsoever, in health. Or medicine. He just liked numbers.
He didn't know what helped a body to function, or whether a number on a scale had any bearing on lifespan.
He didn't account for muscle, or bodies that weren't white. He didn't account for disability or age. Or gender.
He just made up a scale. And nearly 200 years later, we're still using it.
Watch: Nobody speaks to me like Mamamia. Post continues below.
How does BMI work again?
The body mass index (BMI) uses height and weight to determine whether an individual is within a 'healthy' weight range. Simply, the BMI calculation divides an adult's weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared. That's it.
A 'normal' BMI is said to be between 18.5 and 25. Anything between 25 and 30 is considered overweight, with a BMI over 30 considered obese.
The scale is deeply flawed in multiple ways.
Listen to the latest episode of The Quicky. Post continues after audio.
So, what was the point of the BMI in the first place?
The BMI was invented by Adolphe Quetelet in the field of social physics to determine the size of the "average man". It had nothing to do with obesity or metabolic health.
Quetelet developed his formula using measurements of French and Scottish participants, meaning that his index only included white men. It was never intended to be anything else.
What's wrong with BMI? Doesn't it just determine whether or not someone is overweight?
The first issue with the BMI is how it has come to classify someone as 'overweight'.
In 1998, the National Institutes of Health in the United States decided to change their definition of 'overweight'. As Aubrey Gordon writes, they did this by "substantially lowering the threshold to be medically considered fat". She cites a CNN article at the time that read: "Millions of Americans became 'fat' Wednesday - even if they didn't gain a pound."