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Obese Americans now outnumber those who are merely overweight: Could the BMI scale be the problem?


(NaturalNews) The number of Americans in the obese category has surpassed the number of Americans who are considered overweight. A new report published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine shines a light on the growing weight problem in America, but the BMI scale used in these studies is an outdated measurement that doesn't address the real issues. The studies, carried out by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, broke down the data stereotypically, showing how different categories of people (women, African Americans, etc.) are gaining weight at different rates, but this data explains nothing truly important.

The system that we use to classify people as overweight and obese (the BMI scale) is flawed in and of itself, because it lumps everyone's unique body structures into the same weight restriction boxes. As the BMI scale goes: between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered normal; 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight; and someone with a BMI over 30 is considered obese.

While we continue to see increasing waistlines in America for all age groups and ethnicities, the focus is merely on the weight itself – the measurement of force generated by the gravitational attraction of the earth on any object.

In this way, we merely categorize people into overweight and obese categories without looking at the various factors that determine a person's weight. This BMI scale that we use is a made-up chart, comparing the height and weight of a person to an ideal weight limit established for everyone of a specific size.

This weight assessment then generalizes the problem with the "overweight" and "obese" labels, without addressing individuals' underlying health factors and body designs. Someone who has been classified as obese may have higher bone density or greater muscle mass, but may still be classified as obese by the chart.

Individuals could be harboring over 10 pounds of excess waste in their colon, preventing them from absorbing the nutrients in their food, but these serious health issues are not measured or addressed in this BMI assessment.

Breastfeeding women may be carrying around 5–10 pounds of extra weight because they are lactating. Such a woman may be considered obese, while her body is actually performing a healthy function – producing milk.

The BMI scale may determine that someone with a large, fatty waistline is actually of normal weight. Someone who is muscular and slim may measure in the same category on the BMI scale. That's because muscle is denser than fat. (Fat and muscle have the same weight but the weight of the muscle is more compact.) In this way, the BMI scale mistakenly characterizes people who are weak and flabby in areas, putting them in the same box as more muscular and toned people. A sturdy 6 ft 6" man who is in great shape with healthy organs, may weigh 260 pounds and be considered obese by the BMI charts. The BMI chart calls for him to lose over 30 percent of his body mass (or 80 pounds) to reach his ideal weight, but that's insane for his body type.

Everyone's body shape is unique. Bone density, muscle mass, height and body structure, should all be factored into determining one's ideal weight, not just a one-size-fits-all chart. Sure, the chart provides leeway in each category and room for interpretation, but weight and good health aren't some black and white labeling issue that can be characterized on a handy chart. Having good health isn't always about fitting into the ideal weight category on the BMI scale.

Excessive body fat is often associated with other health problems, including heart disease and diabetes, but the weight isn't necessarily the cause of these health woes. It's an indicator that the internal health of the person is out of balance. A hormonal imbalance may be causing the weight gain. A psychotic prescription medication may be causing metabolic changes that increase a person's weight. Shouldn't we be looking at the internal health of the organs first, instead of putting all the focus on weight categories?

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