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Thread: The Body Mass Index and voodoo science

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    The Body Mass Index and voodoo science

    I was looking at this legendary obese guy, Arnold Schwarzenegger:
    Arnold Schwarzenegger - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    His competition mass was 240 lbs (108.9 kg in scientific units);
    His height is, and was, 1.88m.
    The body mass index divides the mass by the square of the height.
    This comes out at 30.8.
    A BMI of 25-30 is overweight; anything over 30 is obese.
    His off-season mass was 260 lb; that gives a BMI of 33.4.

    Obviously, mass increases with the cube of height for humans (though, admittedly, with the square of it for postage stamps). Somehow this seems as batty as the African republic that officially decreed that Pi was henceforth 4. Is there any way of gaining useful information about obesity with only the height and the mass, or do you really need a lot more information?

    Clearly, really tall people tend to be lanky, so generally mass does not increase as fast as the cube of height. Presumably you need to raise the height to a higher power than 2 but less than 3: what is that power?

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    Re: The Body Mass Index and voodoo science

    isnt arnold in really bad medical shape now? isnt he rumored to be a dialysis patient as a result of his steroid use?


    maybe the bmi thing is more useful than we realize? because even tho he looked the picture of fitness reality seems to be somewhat else???
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    Re: The Body Mass Index and voodoo science

    Quote Originally Posted by Abbo  View Original Post
    Obviously, mass increases with the cube of height for humans (though, admittedly, with the square of it for postage stamps). Is there any way of gaining useful information about obesity with only the height and the mass, or do you really need a lot more information?
    A decade ago, (OK, 16 years ago) when I was described as 'hard as a rock' I was 76kg, now I weigh 72 so in theory my BMI is lower. PityI am much more 'squidgy'these days!

    So, yes, you do need some more information, even a basic pinch test (pinch places to measure how much fat there is) can help one make a much more accurate reading on obesity.

    cheers

    Bouncy Andy

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    Re: The Body Mass Index and voodoo science

    BMI does not distinguish between muscle and fat.

    Neither does your heart.

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    Re: The Body Mass Index and voodoo science

    I think that BMI is almost completely irrelevant to anyone that actually exercises, especially people that lift.

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    Re: The Body Mass Index and voodoo science

    Quote Originally Posted by battles2a5  View Original Post
    I think that BMI is almost completely irrelevant to anyone that actually exercises, especially people that lift.
    I would have to agree. The body mass index said I'm overweight, but I'm in the best shape of my life and just did a body fat test that came out at 11%. I think the BMI was developed for sedentary Americans who think Wii Tennis is a good workout program.

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    Re: The Body Mass Index and voodoo science

    Quote Originally Posted by nated1971  View Original Post
    I would have to agree. The body mass index said I'm overweight, but I'm in the best shape of my life and just did a body fat test that came out at 11%. I think the BMI was developed for sedentary Americans who think Wii Tennis is a good workout program.
    The BMI was invented in 1832 by Adolphe Quetelet, a belgian scientist, and this for statistics and not for what it is used today. The most recent studies shows that 10-20 kg over the "ideal" weight as per the BMI is better and guarantees longer life

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    JM Hammerhead

    Re: The Body Mass Index and voodoo science

    Quote Originally Posted by teddy2005  View Original Post
    The BMI was invented in 1832 by Adolphe Quetelet, a belgian scientist, and this for statistics and not for what it is used today. The most recent studies shows that 10-20 kg over the "ideal" weight as per the BMI is better and guarantees longer life
    I think the BMI was adapted for sedentary Americans who think Wii Tennis is a good workout program 10-20kg? That is a fairly significant amount of weight.

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    Re: The Body Mass Index and voodoo science

    Quote Originally Posted by battles2a5  View Original Post
    I think that BMI is almost completely irrelevant to anyone that actually exercises, especially people that lift.
    Agreed.

    I also seem to remember using calipers on the "love handle" area to calculate the % of body fat. This seems to be more relevant that the simple BMI calculation, especially considering that muscle is heavier than fat.

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    Re: The Body Mass Index and voodoo science

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe  View Original Post
    Agreed.

    I also seem to remember using calipers on the "love handle" area to calculate the % of body fat. This seems to be more relevant that the simple BMI calculation, especially considering that muscle is heavier than fat.
    That would be the ol' pinch test and IMO yes, more reliable.

    It is amusing to me that the medical guys (more likely pushed by the risk management ghouls) are now including "OSA" risk into the pre op evaluation of pt's.... by the new guidleines, virtually everyone in a room would be OSA risk.... used to be that the "elevated BMI" and other versions of questionable body habitus were the ones normally targeted....

    Dive safe,

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    PS "OSA" = obstructive sleep apnea

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