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Major medical group declares Body Mass Index ‘racist’

‘[The] AMA recognizes issues with using BMI as a measurement due to its historical harm’ and ‘its use for racist exclusion’

A national medical group declared that the Body Mass Index is “racist” and medical professionals should be educated on its dark history.

“Delegates at the Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates adopted [a] policy aimed at clarifying how body mass index (BMI) can be used as a measure in medicine,” the group announced.

A council within the AMA researched the “problematic history with BMI.”

“The report also outlined the harms and benefits of using BMI and pointed to BMI as an imperfect way to measure body fat in multiple groups given that it does not account for differences across race/ethnic groups, sexes, genders, and age-span, the AMA stated. It did not link to a copy of the report. “Given the report’s findings, the new policy supports AMA in educating physicians on the issues with BMI and alternative measures for diagnosing obesity.”

The group announced:

Under the newly adopted policy, the AMA recognizes issues with using BMI as a measurement due to its historical harm, its use for racist exclusion, and because BMI is based primarily on data collected from previous generations of non-Hispanic white populations. Due to significant limitations associated with the widespread use of BMI in clinical settings, the AMA suggests that it be used in conjunction with other valid measures of risk such as, but not limited to, measurements of visceral fat, body adiposity index, body composition, relative fat mass, waist circumference and genetic/metabolic factors.

“There are numerous concerns with the way BMI has been used to measure body fat and diagnose obesity, yet some physicians find it to be a helpful measure in certain scenarios,” AMA Immediate Past President Jack Resneck said.

He is also a professor at the University of California San Francisco. “It is important for physicians to understand the benefits and limitations of using BMI in clinical settings to determine the best care for their patients.”

Some medical professionals have previously called BMI “racist” and linked it to “body terrorism.”

University of Louisville medical students learn about “the oppressive history of the Body Mass Index…within the medical industrial complex,” as previously reported by The College Fix.

The September 2021 seminar also discussed “the impact of body terrorism on fat LGBTQ+ people.”

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IMAGE: Ohio State University College of Medicine/YouTube

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.