According to a recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity, Body Mass Index (BMI) may not necessarily be the most accurate marker for a healthy weight. As of now, a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is classified as “healthy”, while a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is termed as “overweight”. A BMI of 30 or higher throws the person into the “obese” category.
The study, conducted by UCLA researchers and led by psychologist Janet Tomiyama, pointed out that such numbers do not directly correlate with physical health.
Quartz reported that researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to analyse the connection between participants’ BMI and key signs of health – such as blood pressure and cholesterol, glucose and triglyceride levels.
They found that 47.4% of overweight people are, in fact, healthy, as are 29% of those labeled “obese.” Additionally, more than 30% of those within the “healthy” weight range were found to be metabolically unhealthy.
“There are healthy people who could be penalized based on a faulty health measure, while the unhealthy people of normal weight will fly under the radar and won’t get charged more for their health insurance,” Janet says.
She added that employers, policy makers, and insurance companies should focus on “actual health markers.”