In the world of obesity diagnosis and treatment, body mass index (BMI) has been central for decades. This index, which divides weight by the square of height, is used around the world as a standard for healthy weight. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the BMI is insufficient when it comes to reliably assessing obesity and health risks.
BMI does not take into account factors such as age, gender and race, which can affect health at a certain weight. It also does not actually measure the amount of body fat, which is crucial when assessing the risks associated with obesity. Some people with a high BMI are already healthy, while others with a normal BMI may have health problems due to excess body fat around their organs.
To address these shortcomings, experts call for the use of additional measurements, such as waist circumference, in addition to BMI.
But the use of BMI is still widespread because it is cheap and quick. This is worrying given the demand for new medications for those affected, which are often prescribed on the basis of body mass index.
A group of about 60 obesity experts is working on new diagnostic criteria that include all major organ systems to understand how weight affects health, Nature reports.
Alternative systems are already being used in some countries, such as the Edmonton Obesity Staging System (EOSS), which includes physical, mental and functional health factors in addition to BMI. These new approaches are gradually being adopted, but the transition to clinical practice is slow.
It is clear that BMI is no longer sufficient as a sole measure of obesity, and that a more comprehensive and accurate approach is needed to help people understand and improve their health.Bron (Nin): nature
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