I’ve just switched on to a new BBC show on iView called “Trust Me I’m A Doctor“. I was skeptical – expected junk tv to be honest. But when Michael Mosley appeared in the intro, I was excited! I think he is pretty fantastic.
The very first thing this show did was take apart BMI and Body Fat Percentage as predictors of overall heath and wellbeing. Woo! Not saying I think these measures are useless, but as someone who has spent a fair chunk of her life in the “and we just divide this by this and… oh… (shake our heads) … well you are what we call ‘dead woman walking’ and should probably curl up in the wardrobe with a doughnut now” category, well, let’s just say I don’t relish that number. That simple calculation always makes me want to cry.
As a girl, I read that the BMI was engineered to diagnose anorexia, and was finely tuned at the bottom end of the scale, but a bit blunt at the fat end. Maybe that’s just me hanging on to a delusion. Its a delusion I clung to in the face of being measured with a single number regardless of my overall shape or fitness.
So I applaud Trust Me I’m A Doctor because they crack open the regular tests and then added in the VO2Max test to show that while you can be “fit and fat”, its not ok to just say “well the BMI is rubbish so order me another McWhopper”. You can be fit and fat, but you can also just be fat!