The really old, racist and non-medical origins of the BMI

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So why is it still used?
About two in three Australians are classified as either overweight or obese according to the BMI. Experts say this has been exacerbated by the pandemic, with lockdowns and the push towards working from home leading to more sedentary lifestyles across the population.

"There's a pandemic of obesity," says Veronica Preda, an endocrinologist at Macquarie University's Healthy Weight Clinic. "That's been a problem for some time, but it's been exacerbated by COVID."

The Healthy Weight Clinic takes a "holistic approach" to treating obesity, which means responding to a range of health concerns — such as diabetes, blood pressure, joint issues and mental health — which differ from person to person. While the centre uses the BMI for their data, Dr Preda says it's important to move beyond a "one-size-fits-all" approach. "You've got to individualise it," she says. "It's about managing everything, not just in isolation."

Period2 Jan 2022

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