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Back when I was in school, I dreaded the annual health screening program. All kids K-12 were forced to get measurements taken on weight and height, get their hearing and vision checked, and other embarrassing stuff many block out from their memory bank.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is one of those calculations made after it's all over using a height/weight equation. Apparently kids learn how healthy they are while completely neglecting water, muscle, bone, and fat mass.

The Pennsylvania Growth Screen Program is in full swing with no improvements in sight. Kids are still weighed like cattle and the state is still using an obsolete standard created by a 19th century astronomer. No, seriously.

Adolphe Quetelet had absolutely no education in medicine or physiology when utilizing weight to create the BMI standard that the entire world adopted over 200 years ago. Despite significant scientific advancements, we still use this archaic formula to screen for health risks. 

I'm flummoxed as I watch our world using weight and height as the gold standard of education.

I'm puzzled that I still have to explain how insignificant that number on the scale and BMI is. 

I'm bewildered that folks care more about their weight and height than how they look or feel.

It's a real shame we're indoctrinated to focus on these meaningless numbers from a young age. Not only can it cause significant trauma that is carried through adulthood, it's teaching everyone a wildly inaccurate understanding of their health.

Keep in mind that your weight is composed of many things: water mass, dry lean mass (bones), and fat mass. Literally every little single thing we do in a 24-hour period fluctuates our weight anywhere from 5-10 lbs. Eating, drinking, moving, sleeping, etc.

And BMI only changes with weight, as we remain approximately at the same height for most of our lifespan. A person classified as obese could lose 100 lbs. of fat mass and gain 100 lbs. of muscle mass only to have the same BMI. How does that make any sense?

I understand why our world uses these as standards. Getting our weight, height, and BMI checked takes all of about 30 seconds. That doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.

Despite a particular local healthcare system designated as a non-profit to avoid taxes, it's still a business that thrives on volume to drive revenue. Taking more time with each person to screen in-depth and educate wouldn't help their bottom line, right?

More patients = more insurance claims = more bonuses for the c-suite = more submarine trips for billionaires. Hey, I made up a new equation just like Adolphe did! I wonder if it will catch on?

In all seriousness, our world would be so much better by overhauling our systems with screening that provides a quick and accurate way to calculate obesity and associated health risks. I'm talking about the good ol' waist-height ratio! So simple you can do it by yourself at home.

If you're someone who is still focusing on weight or BMI in the year 2023, do yourself a favor and throw that bathroom scale out. It doesn't carry any weight ... pun intended.


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