Millions Of Healthy Americans Branded As Obese

Can a simple formula determine whether you are healthy, unhealthy, the appropriate weight, or obese? Truth is – it’s been done for years using the body mass index or BMI. Now, new research suggests that method may be deeply flawed.

From the Los Angeles Times:

A new study from UCLA finds that some 54 million Americans who are labeled as obese or overweight according to their body mass index are, when you take a closer look, actually healthy.

The findings, published in the International Journal of Obesity, reveal that employers could potentially saddle people with unfairly high health insurance costs based on a deeply flawed measure of actual health.

BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. Given the Super Bowl was played yesterday, it is interesting to note that National Public Radio ran a story with the headline, “If BMI Is The Test Of Health, Many Pro Athletes Would Flunk.” Part of the story read, “Pro athletes often have BMIs that could get them in trouble with a workplace wellness plan. Their muscle mass can boost them into the obese range, even though they’re healthy and physically fit. Based on players’ height and weight on the NFL website, there is no Denver Broncos player with a normal BMI, calculated at 18.5 to 24.9.”

According to a report in, if a proposed rule by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is adopted, employers will be allowed to charge employees up to 30 percent of health care costs if those employees fail to meet certain health criteria, including not having a BMI in the normal range. (between 18.5 and 24.99).

Another kicker to the study is that more than 30 percent of Americans whose BMI was  normal were believed to be metabolically unhealthy.

Share your thoughts on the research and whether you think BMI has a place in determining our health and potential health outcomes. Finding answers to these types of health questions will help us one day reach our goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s