CAM PoliticsObesity

Top 10 reasons to ignore BMI

 A Belgian mathematician named Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet (photo) introduced the body mass index (BMI) in the early 19th century.

It was originally known as the Quetelet index.

The objective was to create an easy to use formula (BMI = weight in pounds/(height in inches squared) x 703) as a way to measure the degree of obesity in the general population and assist the government in allocating resources.

“703” is a conversion factor from metric into… you know, meaningful measures.

Dr. Keith Devlin from Stanford University, in California lists his top 10 reasons here.

The bottom line?
Number 10 is the best.

“It is embarrassing for one of the most scientifically, technologically, and medicinally advanced nations in the world (United States) to base advice on how to prevent one of the leading causes of poor health and premature death (obesity) on a 200-year-old numerical hack developed by a mathematician who was not even an expert in what little was known about the human body back then.”

7/6/09 17:36 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.