BMI Doesn't Offer TMI, According to Penn Researchers


September 3, 2013

In continuing coverage, BMI, the body mass index is a simple measure that has long been used to assess people's risks for poor health and shortened life expectancy. But WHYY andNewsworks.org report that researchers at the University of Pennsylvania caution that the measure is not as powerful and accurate as previously assumed, and doesn't offer a comprehensive picture of a person's health and disease risks. Rex Ahima, MD, PhD, professor of Medicine and Director of the Obesity Unit in the Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, says this quick and simple tool works on many levels, but it's limited. "It doesn't even distinguish between men and women, also the distribution of body fat," said Ahima. Mitchell Lazar, MD, PhD, professor of Medicine and Genetics and Director of the Institute of Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism spoke with Newsworks.org and argued that doctors are on the right track to associate obesity with diabetes and other health problems, but the revered BMI charts don't give doctors complete information, and the healthy weight range may differ from patient to patient. NBC10 ran the Newsworks.org article and additional coverage appeared in outlets including Huffington Post and New York Daily News.

WHYY/Newsworks article
Newsworks article (#2)
Huffington Post Canada article
New York Daily News article