BMIs Are Bunk

30 Apr

Here’s an interesting little project, spearheaded by fitness blogger Hanna Brooks Olsen and journalist Sarah Anne Lloyd:

They’ve conspired together on a project to illustrate the meaninglessness of the invented-200-years-ago-yet-still-often-utilized-by-health-professionals Body Mass Index, or BMI. It’s just a Tumblr of people holding signs with their BMIs written on them, but it’s eyebrow-arching to see how sometimes a perfectly healthy-looking individual will be classified as “normal” and sometimes will be classified as “obese” or “underweight” or whatever. Oh, right, because that’s dumb, because the BMI doesn’t account for above-average heights or muscle density or really any variation on what was the norm in the early 19th century.

(My BMI and I are mixed in there somewhere, if anyone’s up to the challenge.)

It’s also been telling to read about how much trouble the impresarias have had getting people to confess their BMIs to the Internet. It’s arbitrary, folks. They were still putting cocaine in soda when it was made up.  That’s the whole point. If you agree, feel free to contact Hanna and Sarah with your own BMI photo. They’d appreciate it.

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