Wednesday, January 27, 2010

department of "well, duh" department

An article in a recent "personal journal" section of the Wall Street Journal reviewed research that shows it is possible to have a "normal" range BMI and still have a high percentage of body fat, with all the attendant health risks that this carries. Three comments:

1) well, duh. this observation has been made by bodybuilders and other fitness professionals since, oh, about 10 minutes after BMI was invented

2) the female -- of course -- models in their graphic about high BF% were *all* what I would call skinny-fat. And, of the three models, the one depicted in the panel for "normal BMI/low BF%" probably had the highest BF% of the three.

The WSJ covered their Murdoch by noting that "models are for illustration only." Um, isn't that the definition of a model?

3) the article's author advocated bioimpedemence scales as a way of assessing health risk from high BF% despite normal BMI. Yeah, it's easier than getting a caliper test done, but it's also incredibly, and arguably dangerously inaccurate. A better suggestion would be to train nurses and other health care practitioners to take skinfold measurements, just like they take blood pressure.

4) the author also failed to point out the obverse of the normal BMI/high BF% relationship, namely that one can have an abnormally high BMI and low BF%. It doesn't even require that one be a bodybuilder in the traditional sense -- people who have been lifting for a long time with progressive resistance can also exceed the "ideal" height/weight ratio.

preaching to the choir (or maybe just a choir soloist), but there you go

be strong //
K

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