Weighing in on weight

Written by amy on November 13th, 2012

  Weight, and more recently, the Body Mass Index (BMI) are widely used to assess or judge one’s health.  But do these really equal health? The answer is a resounding no.  For example, consider the following two scenarios – person A has recently stopping playing two hours of video games a day, become more active by walking to school, and goes to bed earlier to get a full 8 hours of sleep each night. Person A’s weight remains in the overweight category. Person B was classified as overweight but a twenty pound weight loss over the past six months has dropped her to a “healthy” weight.  She lost the weight by increasing her physical activity to 4 hours a day and making herself vomit after meals.  Who is healthier?

There are other indicators of health status, such as one’s relationship with food (the types of food eaten, how often, how much, and why), the amount of time spent sedentary or active during the day, the amount of sleep each night, and one’s stress level or mental health.  And yes, making healthier choices is these areas may change weight towards the “healthy” weight category.  But, the weight may not change despite the improved health status. Tying health to closely to weight or BMI can result in misconceptions.

Throw away your scale. Don’t judge yourself or others by weight or appearance. Encourage the use of other measures to determine health.  Help yourself and your children learn to assess themselves in other ways because health and happiness do not live at a certain number on a scale.


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