Posted on June 19, 2023

Citing Racist Origins, American Medical Association Deemphasizes BMI

Justin Boggs, Scripps News, June 15, 2023

The American Medical Association announced it has adopted recommendations deemphasizing the use of  body mass index as a measurement in medicine. The group now recommends considering BMI along with other factors, including visceral fat, body adiposity index, body composition, relative fat mass, waist circumference and genetic/metabolic factors.

The AMA said it “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.”

“There are numerous concerns with the way BMI has been used to measure body fat and diagnose obesity, yet some physicians find it to be a helpful measure in certain scenarios,” said AMA Immediate Past President Jack Resneck. {snip}

The body mass index uses a simple formula combining a person’s weight and height. A person with a body mass index between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered a normal weight. Those with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 are overweight, while those with a BMI of over 30 are considered obese.