• Anya

Should you be worried about your BMI? (A Dietitian’s Perspective)

Updated: Jun 17

Do you care about your Body Mass Index (BMI) results? Too bad because I don’t…

After six years of professional practice I’ve lost count of the number of clients who come to see me because of their BMI results.

Sometimes too low, and almost always too high, many of them worry about their BMI score like it’s a death sentence... and they’re always surprised when I’m not bothered by it.

Because, once you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that the BMI is a terrible predictor of the amount of fat you have in your body, and an even worse predictor of your overall health (by the way if you don’t know what a BMI is, visit this link).

In fact, it’s hard to believe that doctors or even some nutritionists use them at all.

Here are some reasons to not bother about your BMI. After you read them, I hope you’ll give yours the place it deserves: The bin.

1. It’s based on an outdated 19th century mathematical formula

Adolphe Quetelet was a 19th century astronomer, mathematician and statistician. He is also the inventor of the BMI mathematical formula.

Notice how I didn’t list “doctor” (or physician as they were called) in his credentials? Well, that’s because he wasn’t one.

Quetelet invented the BMI because he believed that mathematics could help him define the proportions of the ideal man. Anything which would deviate from that norm was abnormal.

He was not interested in tackling the problem of obesity from a medical point of view - which considers a person's individual circumstances - but from a mathematical and sociological one.