Now It's the Body Mass Index (BMI) That's Racist

(AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)

It seems that virtually everything has been deemed to be racist in today’s world, including the word “field,” the NBA MVP vote, Columbus Day, hard work, the “OK” symbol, the American flag, milk—the list goes on and on into absurdity.

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Now you can add yet another casualty to the racism obsession: The Body Mass Index. BMI has been used by doctors for decades to help determine a person’s health. But it was designed by a white man, so therefore it must be evil:

The American Medical Association, the largest organization of doctors in the US, said the metric has been used for ‘racist exclusion’ and fails to consider differences in body composition that vary based on race and sex.

Body mass index (BMI), devised by a white man considering white bodies, is measured by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms or pounds by the square of height in meters or feet, and it has been deeply ingrained in the medical system as a way to measure population health more broadly.

The Association posted a press release on its website:

Under the newly adopted policy, the AMA recognizes issues with using BMI as a measurement due to its historical harm, its use for racist exclusion, and because BMI is based primarily on data collected from previous generations of non-Hispanic white populations.

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The release goes on to explain that BMI should be used in conjunction with other factors such as body composition and fat percentage. They conclude:

The AMA also recognizes that relative body shape and composition differences across race/ethnic groups, sexes, genders, and age-span is essential to consider when applying BMI as a measure of adiposity and that BMI should not be used as a sole criterion to deny appropriate insurance reimbursement.

The BMI sucks, but why can’t they just say it needs to be improved—why do they have to inject racism into the discussion? The index has been flawed since its inception, but it’s not because some racist white guy in a robe decided to punish people he didn’t like. It’s because its inventor lived in a different time and era:

The BMI was introduced in the early 19th century by a Belgian named Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet. He was a mathematician, not a physician. He produced the formula to give a quick and easy way to measure the degree of obesity of the general population to assist the government in allocating resources. In other words, it is a 200-year-old hack.

My beef with it is that it is heavily slanted toward extremely narrow physiques with little muscle. Some years ago, when I had been working out heavily and was in some of the best shape of my life, it told me I was bordering on being overweight. Kiss my proverbial behind, BMI. Short men aren’t fans, either:

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While I have no problem with calling for the index to be updated for the modern human and to take into account the differences in physiques across various races, there’s no need to call it racist. The problem with throwing that word around for virtually everything these days by leftists and identity politics buffoons is that it cheapens the concept and is, over time, making it lose its meaning.

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