Deny BMI

Health+is+quality+of+life%2C+good+foods%2C+frequent+exercise+and+how+your+body+feels+and+works+for+you%2C+not+a+calculation+which+fails+to+take+into+account+different+bodies+and+muscle+mass.+

Artwork by Delaney Gramlick

Health is quality of life, good foods, frequent exercise and how your body feels and works for you, not a calculation which fails to take into account different bodies and muscle mass.

Delaney Gramlick , Entertainment Editor

Body Mass Index (BMI) calculators, which provide a categorization of your weight as “underweight,” “healthy,” “overweight” or “obese” using a ratio of height to weight, are widely used and accepted by both society and medical professionals, but are actually damaging and misrepresentative of the growing diversity in demographics. 

According to The Washington Post, BMI calculators are racist: both in their origins and in practice. The calculations of BMI were curated based solely off of measurements taken from white men; of course, weight is distributed differently for people of different races and genders, making the BMI scale we use unfit for consultation. Additionally, the practices and policies based on BMI disproportionately limit people of color in the diagnosis they are given and treatment they receive.

BMI calculators also don’t distinguish between fat and muscle. Muscle is much denser than fat, so higher muscle mass will mean higher weight as well. Without distinguishing between muscle and fat, there is no clear and consistent way to indicate health. Clearly, someone who is heavier because of a high muscle mass should not be deemed unhealthy, as a BMI calculator would indicate. 

Access to medical care and the level of which patients are taken seriously can be interfered with by BMI. Eating disorders are often discredited by medical professionals if the patient has an average or above average BMI, despite less than 6% of people with eating disorders being medically underweight.

“BMI is not always something to look at for whether or not you’re healthy… I think you need to look in the mirror and see how you feel. Look at what you’re eating and what you’re doing for your actual activity output,” said gym teacher Kaaren Huber. 

The utilization of BMI calculators is harmful and outdated. The practice relies on calculations which no longer apply to the demographics of America- an America with vast diversity and, as not considered by BMI, body composition. Do not focus on numbers on a scale or a BMI calculator, but on nutritious foods, exercise and how your body feels.