Assumptions might be wrong, and a high BMI doesn’t necessarily mean you’re unhealthy nor is the case vice versa. Experts have been insisting that the BMI is a flawed tool.
- The EEOC proposed a 30% extra charge on insurance fees for overweight and obese people, using their BMI as a health indicator
- Researchers stated that 47.4% of the overweight population is healthy
- The same is the case for around 15% of those who are obese
Obesity has become a global crisis that experts have been warning against with regular exercise and proper diet. It heightens the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which has undoubtedly shifted the mindset of insurance agencies. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) proposed that individuals with higher than normal BMI pay an additional 30% on their insurance fees.
This is due to the numerous health risks presented with being overweight or obese. However, if health is measured by BMI, then experts state their proposed rule will be inevitably flawed.
Researchers from UCLA noted that BMI is merely a way to measure the ratio between weight and height. However, it doesn’t offer vital details about the person’s health. They could be overweight or even obese and have normal blood sugar or blood pressure. Meanwhile, persons with normal BMI could fly under the radar as “healthy” even though clinic indicators might say otherwise.
According to their study, 34.4 million Americans who are overweight are considered unhealthy yet that is not the case. That accounts for 47.4% of the total, which means half of the population with extra pounds is actually in good health. No matter what their BMI says.
Furthermore, there are also 19.8 million people in the U.S. who are obese and in the same situation.
According to lead author of the study, Janet Tomaiyama, a psychologist from UCLA, that means that the BMI not only mislabels millions of people who are overweight, but it actually overlooks the health problems in those within normal range. It’s dangerous for themselves, and it’s one of the reason why the EEOC’s proposal could be flawed from the get go. By measuring employee’s health through their BMI, insurance companies might not be getting an accurate reading.
For example, those who regularly go to the gym and lift weights might have a BMI that classifies them as overweight even though they are as physically fit and healthy as possible. It could pose as an obstacle in matters of health insurance. Jeffrey Hunger, from the University of California, Santa Barbara, stated that their purpose is to change the dominant way of how we think about weight.
The premise that overweight or obese individuals are always unhealthy is inherently flawed. And the assumption that everyone of normal weight presents with perfect health is equally faulty. That means that insurance companies could be wrongly charging healthy overweight people more just based on their BMI. Which, according to the researchers would be wrong.
It’s a flawed tool that should not be the yard stick of good health. As Tomaiyama stated, their research should put the nail in the coffin of that assumption, and hopefully resort to more accurate ways of determining an individual’s health.
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