BMI as Health Gauge Flawed
Body mass index (BMI), the standardmeasure of obesity, has been deemedbadly flawed, say US physicians followingresults of a data analysis recently publishedin The Lancet. Researchers fromthe Mayo Clinic College of Medicine inMinnesota have found that patients withhigher BMI—considered overweight—had better survival rates than patientswith low or normal BMI. Their study datacame from 40 studies covering 250,000people with heart disease. Lead researcherFrancisco Lopez-Jiminez isquick to point out that their study resultsdo not suggest that overweight peopleare healthier, but rather, the BMI as ameasurement is no longer effective. "Ourdata suggest that alternative methodsmight be needed to better characterizeindividuals who truly have excess bodyfat, compared with those in whom BMI israised because of preserved musclemass." A separate study involving 52countries compared 4 different bodymeasures: BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, waistmeasure, and hip measure. Resultsshowed waist-to-hip ratio to be thesurest predictor of heart attack risk."
Ms. Farley is a freelance medicalwriter based in Wakefield, RI.