What’s Your BMI?

December 1, 2009

Mine is 25.


I’m overweight!

Oh no! What am I going to do?

The world is ending! Noooooo!!!!!


Do I have your attention?

OK, then. Let’s move on to the issue at hand.

Students at Lincoln University with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher are now being required to take a fitness course.

Don’t take the class, don’t graduate. That’s the policy.

Students with a BMI of under 30 are not required to take this course.

Including those who are underweight.

Good. Lord.

There are so many things wrong with this that I don’t even know where to start.

OK, I’ll start with the BMI.

Or, better known as the “Bane of Most Personal Trainer’s Existence”.

I don’t know what Stone Age administrator decided to use BMIs to determine whether these students are overweight, but anyone in their right mind knows how totally and completely inaccurate these are.

Take almost any professional, or college, or hell, average athlete, and their BMI will put them in the overweight to obese range.

Take almost anyone who goes to the gym on a regular basis and their BMI will say they are overweight.

And then take someone who doesn’t work out, has no muscle mass, might smoke a pack a day and eat like crap, but their BMI might put them in the normal range, therefore deeming them “healthy”.

Does that make sense?

I didn’t think so.

BMI only takes into consideration a person’s height and weight. Where that weight comes from doesn’t make a difference.

Muscle, fat…it’s all the same to the BMI.

Now, you might be asking:
But what about waist to hip ratio? Body fat percentage? Do those matter?

Nope and nope. BMI doesn’t care. As long as your happy little number falls between 20-24.9, BMI could care less how healthy you really are.

Therefore, let me tell you why some athletes are “fat” and lazy people “aren’t”.

Muscle is denser than fat. Much denser. So, essentially, it weighs more.

So someone with, say, a lot of muscle mass, like an athlete or active person, might weigh the same, (or more) and have the same (or higher) BMI than someone with, say, no muscle mass or a lot of fat. Hence the reason why so many athletes (and gym rats) are considered “obese”.

For those of you who need a visual, allow me to refer you to this:

Yes, I know its a cartoon. But it’s a pretty good comparison of how two people with the same BMI can be on completely opposite ends of the word “healthy”.

So, strictly speaking, BMI doesn’t like people who work out and gain muscle mass. It makes them overweight.

OK, that might be taking it a little too far.

But now do you see why it’s so absurd for Lincoln University to require this class only for certain people?

Not just “overweight” and “obese” people need to learn how to be healthy. These are, lots of times (but definitely not always), the people who are healthy. It’s the 100 lb waifs who eat like crap and don’t work out but are blessed with the metabolism of a speeding train and therefore never gain weight and don’t learn healthy habits like working out and eating right that need these “health classes”. (Whew!)


Now don’t get me wrong. There are certainly people out there who have a high BMI and truly are overweight and obese. And they need these classes too.

I guess what I’m getting at is — if the school is going to make a health class a requirement, they should make it a requirement for everyone.

They shouldn’t single people out.

I’m surprised Lincoln University hasn’t realized this yet. You’d think the nation’s first all black college would know a thing or two about discrimination.


Apparently not.


One Response to “What’s Your BMI?”

  1. Brita Says:

    YAY! You blogged!
    A few things… First, I read in a CNN article of the same topic that while the class is based on BMI, they also do a waist measurement to verify that someone is indeed obese, and not just crazy muscular. I’m not sure how accurate that is, you’d know better than I would, but to me it seems that they’re at least making an attempt to weed out those who they aren’t trying to target with this class.

    Second, I acutally disagree with you on this one. As freshman, all students were told this would be a requirement for those with a BMI of 31 or higher. They then had four years to get measured for the BMI, take the class, not take the class and protest, work out on their own, or do any number of things other than wait until the last possible minute to get tested and then protest. Do I think Lincoln University might want to rethink this class? Possibly, but for at least these students, I think they should have done something before their senior springs.

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