Unfortunately it is not a climate scientists or one of those wankers who likes to tell us a few beers or a tasty meal are bad for us, but it’s a start.
A new way of calculating the notorious Body Mass Index (BMI) has been proposed – but does it really solve any of the BMI’s well-known problems?
BMI you may remember is the scientific measure of weight to height ratio that pronounced Arnold Schwartzenegger obese when he made Terminator and Mike Tyson obses when he was at his peak as World Heavyweight boxing Champion.
How often have we heard similar tales of the stupid prouncements made by doctors and health experts who put to much faith in ‘science’ (i.e, meaningless statistics) and ignore the evidence that is STARTING THEM IN THE FUCKING FACE! Like; Brad Pitt at the time of Fight Club, and England rugby player Jonny Wilkinson in his prime, were “overweight” – according to their BMI?
Any system that tells people whether they are “normal”, “underweight”, “overweight” or “obese” is bound to be controversial, but the obvious weakness of the BMI is that it doesn’t distinguish between fat and muscle, let alone between people with high or low muscle density or the numerous other variations that make us indichuffingviduals.
First devised by Adolphe Quetelet more than 150 years ago, BMI is calculated by taking your weight (in kilograms) and dividing it by your height squared (in metres).
Put simply, it is nothing more than a way to compare the weights of groups of people of different heights.
But mathematician Nick Trefethen, Professor of Numerical Analysis at Oxford University, thinks that the old formula is wrong, as he explained in a letter to the Economist newspaper published earlier this month. His letter to the Editor began,
Sir, The body-mass index that you (and the National Health Service) count on to assess obesity is a bizarre measure… As a consequence of this ill-founded definition, millions of short people think they are thinner than they are, and millions of tall people think they are fatter.
Actually he is wrong (but he’s a mathematician so we would expect no less. It has long been known that stocky, thick set, heavily muscled people are disadvantaged bt the flawed measure
Prof. Trefethen does however make a good point when he remarks that government pokenoses and medical ‘professionals’ have put too much trust in it in part because it looks so precise – like, say, Einstein’s famous equation E=MC² (which everyone knows is bollocks because multiplying mass by speed and getting the answer in energy is like multiplying apples by eggs and getting the answer in sardines).
Treftethen misses an opportunity to show a little sanity, he says “That’s an equation of physics and it’s really right. The BMI formula looks similar. It seems to have the same character but it doesn’t reflect a precise truth about our world, it’s an approximation to a very complicated reality,”.
With that in mind he has proposed a new formula: 1.3 x weight, divided by height to the power 2.5. Huh? That’s crazier than the old one.