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People Do Not Come in One-Chart-Fits-All Sizes

ScaleHow much you should weigh is part personal preference, part genes, and part science. Well, kind of — kind of, because the “science” behind the Body Mass Index (BMI) chart is not science at all, in fact, it is mathematical formula  created for an entirely different purpose and was “tweaked”to force weight conversions that were otherwise somewhat incompatible.

Despite its wide use today as a rule of thumb, this flawed method of calculating ideal weight is now over 200 years old.

Why is it still used? Insurance companies latched onto the BMI chart as a means of calling healthy weight people “overweight” so that they could either deny insurance and charge higher premiums.  Slowly, it was adopted by doctors, health clubs, and the general public.

Many people still rely heavily on the Body Mass Index chart (BMI) despite its origins.

The BMI was introduced in the early 19th century by a Belgian named Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet. He was a mathematician, not a physician. He produced the formula to give a quick and easy way to measure the degree of obesity of the general population to assist the government in allocating resources. Sounds sort so sciency, but the Quetelet himself said specifically, the BMI chart was not to be used to calculate the ideal of weight of any individual.

Top 10 Reasons Why the BMI is Bogus by Keith Devlin explains more (if you have trouble hearing this podcast, you can also listen here).

Here are better methods of determining your ideal body weight: