Welcome to Debate Club! Please be aware that this is a space for respectful debate, and that your ideas will be challenged here. Please remember to critique the argument, not the author.

Is every single body in the world intended to be within the so-called healthy BMI range?

Replies

• Posts: 96 Member
Competitive stats
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
Contest weight: 235 lb (107 kg)
Off-season weight: 260 lb (120 kg)
Arms: 22 in (56 cm)
Chest: 57 in (140 cm)
Waist: 34 in (86 cm)
Thighs: 28.5 in (72 cm)
Calves: 20 in (51 cm)
• Posts: 2,113 Member
Aaron_K123 wrote: »
JasonMcS wrote: »
Depending on exacts and according to Wikipedia, Arnold Schwarzenegger was 6'2" and weighed 235 at his last Mr. Olympia contest (260 before the cut). That puts his competition weight BMI at ;

"Height: 6 feet, 2 inches
Weight: 235 pounds

The calculator is not very accurate. You can WOO this if you want but to say that Mr. Olympia 5 times was Obese?Come on? You know if you are healthy. You just have to tell yourself the truth. I have a long way to go but I am not trying to get to a BMI goal. I am trying to get to a healthy me goal.

Yes if you misuse BMI you will get wacky and incorrect results.

And have you googled a shirtless picture of him lately?

He was an outlier back then, but it's incredibly difficult to maintain that for a lifetime. Now he's looking pretty obese...
• Posts: 30,886 Member
Aaron_K123 wrote: »
Also the existence of outliers does not somehow negate the validity of a statistical distribution. All statistical distributions have outliers, that is what a statistical distribution is. All something based on a statistical distribution is saying is if you exist within this population and your stats are between X and Y then there is a XX% likelyhood that you are Z. There is also a percent chance that you are not Z because you fall outside of that range.

People don't like that level of uncertainty or complexity though so people who use BMI tend to just cut out the "weasel" words and say if you are between X and Y then you are Z without seeming to understand that phrased in that way it isn't true anymore. Then someone points out an exception to that rule and acts like BMI is useless because they are interacting with someone who is misusing it. Its two people misunderstanding the point arguing with eachother, neither one of them is right.

The only problem with BMI is that lots of people misuse it and it seems like all the discussions about it center on that misunderstanding.

Good summary.

I was arguing above that not everyone must be within the BMI healthy range to have a healthy BF% (although I myself am not an outlier), but I want to make it clear that I've never suggested that BMI is useless or a bad measure for a population or even a bad measure to be used as a general rule/starting point.

(I also think pretty much everyone fat knows it, if they are honest with themselves. If you weren't, it's not really because you believed your bones were extra large or whatever, it was because you were in denial. I would say that the solution is not insisting, inaccurately, that BMI cannot ever be wrong for a particular individual, but looking at all the other measures that would have also showed you you were overweight or obese.)
• Posts: 5,728 Member
lemurcat12 wrote: »
Aaron_K123 wrote: »
Also the existence of outliers does not somehow negate the validity of a statistical distribution. All statistical distributions have outliers, that is what a statistical distribution is. All something based on a statistical distribution is saying is if you exist within this population and your stats are between X and Y then there is a XX% likelyhood that you are Z. There is also a percent chance that you are not Z because you fall outside of that range.

People don't like that level of uncertainty or complexity though so people who use BMI tend to just cut out the "weasel" words and say if you are between X and Y then you are Z without seeming to understand that phrased in that way it isn't true anymore. Then someone points out an exception to that rule and acts like BMI is useless because they are interacting with someone who is misusing it. Its two people misunderstanding the point arguing with eachother, neither one of them is right.

The only problem with BMI is that lots of people misuse it and it seems like all the discussions about it center on that misunderstanding.

Good summary.

I was arguing above that not everyone must be within the BMI healthy range to have a healthy BF% (although I myself am not an outlier), but I want to make it clear that I've never suggested that BMI is useless or a bad measure for a population or even a bad measure to be used as a general rule/starting point.

(I also think pretty much everyone fat knows it, if they are honest with themselves. If you weren't, it's not really because you believed your bones were extra large or whatever, it was because you were in denial. I would say that the solution is not insisting, inaccurately, that BMI cannot ever be wrong for a particular individual, but looking at all the other measures that would have also showed you you were overweight or obese.)

As someone who may or may not be an outlier, 2 thumbs up.

I know I'm overweight. I don't really know how much... I also know that I'm Happier, healthier, stronger, and faster at 230 lbs and 42 years of age than I was at 21 and 153 lbs.

Balancing lifestyle convenience and health risks is an ongoing exploration. My father and Uncle are both within the "normal BMI/BF range" and that hasn't observably reduced their bloodpressure... neither have dietary or activity changes.

As yet, my BP remains within the normal range as do the rest of my health/lifestyle markers.

At some point there will be adjustments. but not yet. We'll see how 225 feels.
• Posts: 16,025 Member
lemurcat12 wrote: »
Aaron_K123 wrote: »
Also the existence of outliers does not somehow negate the validity of a statistical distribution. All statistical distributions have outliers, that is what a statistical distribution is. All something based on a statistical distribution is saying is if you exist within this population and your stats are between X and Y then there is a XX% likelyhood that you are Z. There is also a percent chance that you are not Z because you fall outside of that range.

People don't like that level of uncertainty or complexity though so people who use BMI tend to just cut out the "weasel" words and say if you are between X and Y then you are Z without seeming to understand that phrased in that way it isn't true anymore. Then someone points out an exception to that rule and acts like BMI is useless because they are interacting with someone who is misusing it. Its two people misunderstanding the point arguing with eachother, neither one of them is right.

The only problem with BMI is that lots of people misuse it and it seems like all the discussions about it center on that misunderstanding.

Good summary.

I was arguing above that not everyone must be within the BMI healthy range to have a healthy BF% (although I myself am not an outlier), but I want to make it clear that I've never suggested that BMI is useless or a bad measure for a population or even a bad measure to be used as a general rule/starting point.

(I also think pretty much everyone fat knows it, if they are honest with themselves. If you weren't, it's not really because you believed your bones were extra large or whatever, it was because you were in denial. I would say that the solution is not insisting, inaccurately, that BMI cannot ever be wrong for a particular individual, but looking at all the other measures that would have also showed you you were overweight or obese.)

To be fair, there was (or is still, I haven't checked yet) a thread by a young man who was "shocked" to find out his 40" waist was considered unhealthy, said he didn't even consider himself overweight, and posted a picture of his torso that I can't imagine anyone not considering "overweight" as proof that he wasn't. He then posted a picture of himself back before he developed the beer belly and in that picture too he was pretty clearly overweight. And I know several people who do know they are considered medically overweight but who think it's some kind of overeach to expect people to get below a certain weight and that it's not a big deal because they look the same as most other people they know. I worked with a woman recently who knew she was classified as obese, but felt the medical definition of obese was outdated and didn't take into consideration modern lifestyles and healthcare capabilities

Regardless, I agree with you that BMI should be just one measure a person uses to determine where they stand. You need to take several indicators into consideration and look at the total picture of results to decide whether you are in a good place or need to aim for something better. I'm surprised by the emotions coming out in this thread, I guess this is still a pretty loaded topic!
• Posts: 30,886 Member
edited November 2017
More misc thoughts (this was intended to be after kimny's post):

I would say that a lot of that is included within my category of "denial" or "not being honest with yourself." I also think there's a difference between a lot of people who simply don't really think about their weight or avoid doing so -- I personally refused to weigh myself for years, although I was aware I was fat -- and those who are working on losing weight/getting fit and paying a lot of attention. (The 40 inch waist guy seems like someone who wasn't really paying attention.) Along the same lines, I don't think people who eat really poorly (on average) or don't eat vegetables do because they don't know they should eat some vegetables. I think they don't really think about nutrition when choosing foods and just eat what they like.

I don't feel that strongly about BMI (it's always fit me perfectly well, but my goal weight had nothing to do with BMI and was well within, it was the weight I was when I was most happy with my weight -- 120). I do find it bothersome that people feel compelled to insist that if anyone questions whether it applies to them that they must be trying to justify staying fat or something when these are people who are focusing on fitness and have made major changes and so on.

I also don't think it's that big a deal if someone is, say, slightly overweight BMI but in shape (in terms of regularly exercising and consistently working to improve body composition and any bad test results). If that's what the weight issue in the US looked like, it really wouldn't be a health crisis.
• Posts: 96 Member
Sure. Sounds like you are in a false sense of security. What weight will make me perfect? BMI is playing odds. It is good for chances but chances are that other things factor in also. Is everyone supposed to fit, NO! Midgets wouldn't fit. Folks that are 7 foot tall wouldn't fit (a bunch of them have heart issues already though).
• Posts: 16,025 Member
JasonMcS wrote: »
The question was stated; "Is every single body in the world intended to be within the so-called healthy BMI range?" The answer is simply no. I gave you an example of that. You can argue whatever you want but with or without the use of steroids he was in the most physically perfect shape imaginable and some stupid computer called him obese.

The reason for my weight loss is not to fit what you have decided is "healthy". It is to actually get myself healthy for me. I couldn't care less about my BMI. The Gym has hundreds of members and half of them know everything. Of that half no 2 of them will agree on anything. I have 2 young men in my Youth Group that both have Diabetes. Neither are over weight but are both healthy and active. I had Hypertension at 18, I was in good in shape just carried way too much stress and didn't sleep. My grandpa died of a massive heart attack at 50, physically in good shape. BMI is a warning that you have greater chances of developing health issues. It is a set of parameters that are set to access risk by some computer. I guess some know everything but listen to your doctor. Get your A1C tested. Look at all YOUR factors. Let the muscle meat heads that know everything be right about them. You just work on you. WOO me please! It is SO FUNNY TO ME! I THINK I WILL WOO EVERYONE WHO DISAGREES WITH ME! LOL

I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with you, but in regards to your first paragraph, this discussion is 10 pages in and has moved far beyond the OP's rather specific question to a more general debate about whether BMI is useful or universal or should be completely ignored. I honestly don't think anyone in this thread has stated that BMI is a complete and infallible indicator for everyone.

Also, this is the debate forum, so people are going to disagree with you, that's kind of how it works. No need to go all caps on us! And congrats on your success, whatever your BMI is :drinker:
• Posts: 15,268 Member
JasonMcS wrote: »
@Aaron_K123 Sorry for the excitement. I got no excuse but I just figured out what the woo means and they frustrate me. @kimny72 I was on the first page when I posted. I didn't have the sence to look and see the actual number of posts. Sorry and thanks.

woo can mean two things here Per the MFP staff...

Woo as in yah go you...or Woo as in no science or bad information...pick which one you want it to mean...

I think most people who have posted in favour of BMI all agree that there are going to be outliers but in general on average...yah most should fall in the "healthy" bmi range....that's why there is a range.
• Posts: 236 Member
Azdak wrote: »
SezxyStef wrote: »
SezxyStef wrote: »
Azdak wrote: »
SezxyStef wrote: »
tomteboda wrote: »
SezxyStef wrote: »
1st one is an abstract and is from 2002...almost 20 years old????

I'm sure you are capable of finding the full article and reading it. I know I managed to do it. And I'm not sure why you have an issue with an article published 15 years ago. Unless time itself invalidates science.
SezxyStef wrote: »
and it doesn't address your assertion that bone size difference can account for 8+lbs in body weight variance of two people who are same gender, height and race.
Except the first study does. And I didn't make any assertion in particular giving a number, you must be confusing me with another poster. HOWEVER...
SezxyStef wrote: »
and the 2nd one doesn't prove anything about your original assertion either...we know that Asians have a different BMI scale than we do and has nothing to do with your original argument or the original post...
How is it that you can recognize interracial genetic frame differences that result in real health outcome differences related to BMI, but cannot accept that individual variation within populations is also real and significant?
SezxyStef wrote: »
My original assertion..BMI is a good measure for the average population and that there are few outliers in that population...and that it is not "bone size" that will account for people being categorized as overweight or obese it's fat.
I don't argue that for an "average human being", whatever that is, BMI is a rough indicator of body fat. I do argue:
1. that the cutoff of 25 is arbitrary and not supported by morbidity and morality data for all populations. The existence of separate recommendations for Asians is evidence.
2. The BMI scale itself is flawed because it assumes a relationship of height to volume (mass) of h*h while volume is a cubic relationship. Being stochastically fitted for a height of 5' even, the error is linearly increasing with deviation from that height. This is not particularly controversial from a mathematics standing.
3. As a matter of mathematical interest, if my bones alone, never mind the volume of everything else in me, account for 15% of my mass, and my friend's bones are 12% of hers, then exactly 7.6 lbs of our weight difference is just bones. Now, personally, I find it really stupid that if I gain 10 lbs I'm classified as "overweight" but she has to gain 35 lbs to be "overweight". Because my body is clearly larger in frame and muscle. That is a pretty good illustration of the arbitrary nature of BMI when applied to individuals not populations.
4. Also on that matter, the fit of BMI to body fat is considered generally good... To one standard deviation. That's 68%. OK, great. That means if the population is normally distributed 32% are outliers.

If you found the article why link in the abstract????

2nd point you responded to me saying 8lbs of bone was a bit much imo with a negative assertion that it was possible based on you and your friend and there are 2 links...1 is an abstract that doesn't prove it and neither does the 2nd.

No where did I say frame size of people was all the same...I said 8lbs of it was a bit much imo and that for those people claiming frame size keeps them in the overweight of bmi they were in denial...perhaps you have me confused with another poster.

Now onto the meat of it.

comparing 12% for your friend and 15% is flawed...apples to apples.

and perhaps you are one of those individuals who is in denial because you are almost in the overweight category????and that is causing a bias in your argument...been there done that until I wasn't in the overweight category and still wearing a size 8 shoe...and still "big boned" but a hella lot less fat.

I think accusing someone of being “in denial” about their body because you disagree with them on a point of them on a point of science is out of line and deserves an apology.

I am not disagreeing on a point of science. She disagreed and argued that she is "bigger" because of bone size...I say no way...people who think that are in denial and are more fat than they want to admit.

Point of science is this.

BMI is a good measure for the average person (at least it is currently)
12-15% of the body weight of a person is from bone no more no less.
if you are in the overweight category for BMI it's not from bones...chances are you are overfat (unless an outlier who has exceptional muscle mass) and yes I will say that there are those who are outlier.

This poster is not.

ETA: so no apology will be forthcoming from me.

That poster isn't overweight. She's within healthy range for BMI. You just moved the goalposts. She's near the top range for her BMI because she has a large frame.

She's not in denial and yes, you do owe her an apology.

1. I never said she didn't have a large frame.
2. She contended bmi is not valid due to bone size which is invalid.
3. I never said she was over weight I said she might be on the top end because she had more weight than she wants to admit aka denial.

And I will not apologize for that.

I will stand by my original statement that those who say bmi doesn't apply to them are most likely in denial as the outliers are not that common.

People who are not educated in exercise science often use “bone size” as a substitute for “higher LBM”, since they are not familiar with other terminology. Fixating on their use of “bone size” because it is not precisely accurate confuses the issue

I can say with 100% certainty that the number of “outliers” from the BMI ranges is at least 20%. I can also say with 100% certainty that the actual number of people “in denial” about their weight is less than 10%.

Most of the people who have unrealistic expectations about their weight are those with “large frames” who think they can/should be able to reach the lower end of the BMI range for their height.

My head hurt-ed with all the statistics and numbers over the past few pages... but the statement in bold struck a chord with me.

I always had a "larger" frame than my mom. We are of similar heights (one inch difference - I'm taller at 5'6") and I normally weigh 125-ish and she 120 but as comparison, I wear a shoe size 9 and she wears a shoe size 5 so we look vastly different. She always used to talk about how slender her bones were and that triggered the start of decades of unhealthy relationship with b/p/r and the scale. I wanted to be as underweight as possible per BMI so that I could look as thin as possible despite my frame size. I am sooo very, very careful with words where my daughter is concerned now.
• Posts: 7,121 Member
It wasn't so much BMI for me but before I really looked into it when I was a teenager I had in my head that a 6' tall guy should weigh about 180 or so pounds and I weighed about 185 pounds so I figured I was in good shape. Sure I had rolls of fat but I mean, I was 6' tall guy and I was 185 pounds so all good.

What I didn't recognize at the time was that I have a small frame and was relatively low muscle mass so 185 pounds was actually fairly overweight for me.

Not quite the same as BMI but in the same ballpark of the culture giving you this notion that this is the "healthy" body type when talking about a statistical average that might not apply to you at all.