My doctor started with all the regular questions: are you eating your fruits and vegetables? That kind of thing. She listened to my heart and tapped my knee with the little triangle on a stick. I checked out fine. Then she looked at her chart and told me I was overweight. She tried to say it nicely, but it didn't come out that way. I looked at her like she was crazy and then I laughed because I knew it wasn't true.
My friends have always told me I'm too skinny. My family said I needed to gain weight. So what was this doctor talking about?
When I told my friends about it, several said the same thing had happened to them. That's when I got curious about how doctors determine who's fat and who's not. So I did a little research.
The standard height to weight ratio is called the BMI -- short for Body-Mass-Index. The problem is, the BMI is only based on one type of body. From Belgium. In the 19th century, a Belgian mathematician named Adolphe Quetelet came up with the formula based off of height and weight. Then, 150 years later, it became the preferred method of measuring if a person was too thick or thin. The BMI is cheap, fast and simple.
But it's got a lot of problems. For instance, the BMI categories don't account for muscle weighing more than fat or for ethnic differences. A spokesperson for the National Institute of Health said the most common complaint is people being misclassified as overweight.