What’s this BMI nonsense then

Dec 15, 2010 | Personal

BMI stands for Body Mass Index, and apparently it’s some random calculation made up by a guy in the 19th century to try to give the UK government a quick ballpark assessment of how overweight a person is, based on averages he pulled out of his ass.

Newsflash – it’s snakeoil. Meaningless. Inaccurate.

Take me, for example. My measurements are roughly 44 – 36 – 47. I’m a classic pear shape, typical for Irish women. I wear a European size 14 or a very baggy size 16 that I need to hold up with a belt right now, because I haven’t gotten around to taking in my jeans yet.

I’m 5’5″ and I weigh – wait for it – 182 pounds.

I don’t look like I’m that heavy, actually. As far as I can tell, it’s entirely due to my taking after my father; a lot of the women in his family have very broad shoulders and hips. (Apparently I take after my great-grandmother. I’ve seen a picture of her and, I kid you not, she’s built like a tank.) I suspect that another quirk of genetics I get from dear old Dad is high bone density. I’m not all that athletic, and I certainly don’t have more muscle mass than average.

So, the problem – according to my BMI of 30.3, I’m clinically obese and I need to lose a third of my body mass to reach my ideal weight. How I’d do this short of cutting off a limb or two, I have no idea.

I’m not even overweight. I repeat – I’M NOT EVEN OVERWEIGHT.

Take a look at this.

Crystal Renn

That is Crystal Renn, a very famous plus-sized model. (Plus-sized means she’s about a size 12-14, like, you know, ordinary women.) If you take her and widen her skeleton a bit, you get my body shape. And I’m supposed to lose 60 pounds off that to get to the ‘ideal’? Not without major surgery and a bone saw!

I think it’s high time we got rid of this nonsense and replace it with the Ryan scale – an overall score out of a hundred that rates healthiness based on a combination of diet, exercise, presence or absence of chronic illness, and mental well-being. Let’s have enough of this ‘OMG FAAAAAAT’ hysteria.