- Howard Bauchner, Editor in Chief
IS BMI THE RIGHT MEASURE?
The House of Commons Select Committee on obesity and the American Academy of Pediatrics advise schools (UK) and paediatricians (US) to measure the body mass index (BMI) of their patients. David Hall and Tim Cole, in an erudite and forceful perspective, raise numerous concerns about measuring BMI. Interestingly, investigators from Leeds report on the TRENDS Project. The primary purpose of this study was to develop a methodology for monitoring a representative sample rather than a whole population with respect to obesity. They employed the standard deviation of the BMI in their project.
Why is there so much controversy over the use of the BMI in children? Clearly, government and paediatricians feel a responsibility to respond to the epidemic of obesity. As children have become heavier and heavier, frustration has mounted. But as Hall and Cole point out, there are few data that measuring BMI helps individual children lose weight. It may be an effective measure of the “weight of a population,” but from an individual standpoint …