Body Mass Index, or BMI, has become sort of the de facto formula for determining whether or not a person is “healthy” in the past few years. The ratio of a person’s height and weight is used by many U.S. companies to determine an employee’s health care costs—and under a rule proposed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, people with higher BMIs might have to pay higher health insurance premiums come April.
But a new study out of UCLA and published in the International Journal of Obesity is suggesting that using the BMI gauge incorrectly labels more than a whooping 54 million Americans as “unhealthy,” when this is not the case.
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The study found that close to half of Americans considered “overweight” based on their BMIs are healthy; as are 19.8 million who are labeled as “obese.”
“Although BMI has been used for sometime to correlate height/weight to health risk, it unfortunately overgeneralizes and places a large emphasis on the weight scale, versus overall body composition (muscle mass to fat mass ratio),” celebrity nutritionist Paula Simpson says.
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