IF recent science is to be believed, You can have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 22 while You2 can have a BMI of 28 or even 34, yet the you with the higher BMI can conceivably be healthier than the you with the lower number.
UC Santa Barbara and UCLA researchers found that nearly half of those considered overweight in their study, 29 percent considered obese, and importantly, 16 percent of those in obesity Classes 2 and 3, were metabolically healthy.
The results of the study, “Misclassification of cardiometabolic health when using Body Mass Index categories in NHANES 2005-2012, are published in the International Journal of Obesity.
"We need to move away from trying to find a single metric on which to penalize or incentivize people and instead focus on finding effective ways to improve behaviors known to have positive outcomes over time," asserted study co-author Jeffrey Hunger.
For a good long while, BMI has been an almost universally accepted indicator of whether one is anywhere from underweight (below 18.5) or morbidly obese (above 40), the strong implication being that smaller is healthier than larger, notably in the normal range. A BMI of 22 puts a body solidly in the normal weight category, while 28 is considered overweight. A 34 is considered Class 1 obesity. Generally there are three classes of obesity; the higher the class the greater the obesity.)
Millions of Americans, particularly those considered overweight, have struggled and been strongly admonished to drop the necessary weight to gain entry into the coveted normal category of 18.5 -24.99. (Use the calculator at the Website of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health to determine your BMI. Do keep in mind, however, that the number may not accurately depict your health outlook, http://www.1.usa.gov/1ooHYzU).
There are some in the medical community who have not gone as far as the BMI study, but have offered caveats about the reliability of BMI, including the Mayo Clinic and Dr. Mehmet Oz
"For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. However, BMI doesn't directly measure body fat, so some people, such as muscular athletes, may have a BMI in the obese category even though they don't have excess body fat," it is stated on the Mayo Clinic's Obesity page. It advises those with questions about their BMI to consult their doctors. (http://www.mayocl.in/1znB2ss)
For a number of years, Dr. Oz has been espousing the so-called Body Quotient (BQ) as a more accurate gauge of healthfulness. The BQ considers factors such a distribution of fat, gender and age.
Dr. Mehmet Oz believes that the BQ is a better predictor of healthfulness than BMI. Image from Doctoroz.com.
"Unlike BMI, BQ tells you if your weight is shortening your life based on the correlation between your height, age and waist circumference," it is written on the BQ page at Doctoroz.com. "Zero or below means your weight is perfectly healthy. Above zero means your weight is threatening your health." (Determine your BQ at http://www.bit.ly/1TLyyUp)
The BMI study takes on broader significance in, owing to a rule proposed last year by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that would result in employees with a BMI higher than 25 paying more for their health care. (http://www.1.usa.gov/1H7AMHt )
“There are healthy people who could be penalized based on a faulty health measure, while the unhealthy people of normal weight will fly under the radar and won’t get charged more for their health insurance,” lead researcher A. Janet Tomiyama, told the UCLA new service. She is an assistant professor of psychology at the university. “Employers, policy makers and insurance companies should focus on actual health markers.
AJT and JH used a study group of 40,420 of individuals 18 and older who participated in the 2005-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the most recent available, they noted. Instead of relying solely on height and weight to determine the healthfulness of the study subjects, researchers relied on cardiometabolic health markers, including blood pressure, triglyceride, cholesterol, glucose and insulin resistance.
In what may be considered the study’s most troubling finding, not only were significant percentages of people deemed unhealthy by virtue of their BMI only, more than 30 percent who were deemed healthy by this same measure were found to be unhealthy by the metabolic measures.
"Not only does BMI mislabel 54 million heavier individuals as unhealthy, it actually overlooks a large group of individuals considered to have a ‘healthy’ BMI who are actually unhealthy when you look at underlying clinical indicators," said JH. "We used a fairly strict definition of health. You had to be at clinically healthy levels on four out of the five health indicators assessed."
In their study abstract, the researchers concluded that “policymakers should consider the unintended consequences of relying soley on BMI, and researchers should seek to improve diagnostic tools related to weight and cardiometabolic health.”
Visit http://www.bit.ly/1K2E6Xd to read the abstract the article abstract; vist http://www.bit.ly/1pjYNUQ to read the full article.