Debunking BMI statistics….kind of…..

Did you know that Fat Albert and Jay Cutler (the body builder) are the same height and weigh the same?

Fat Albert
Fat Albert

jay cutler bodybuilder

 I know that I kind of led with the other Jay Cutler in previous blogs, but this is the one I really meant….these guys stats on paper are exactly the same.  The two of them have the same BMI.  BMI is one of the primary indicators that MANY health professionals and fitness specialists use for health/fitness statistics in the United States.   BMI, stands for body mass index.

Actually, the research says that 66% of the United States is overweight or obese.  However, during the past few weeks I have started to question some of the methods that are used to determine “how fat we really are”.  I have had a lot of discussions with many people, including my husband, about our weight in relation to our height and where we fall on the BMI.  To determine your own BMI, if you are interested, you would take your weight divided by your height in inches squared and multiplied by 703.

BMI=body weight in lbs/(height in inches)2 x 703

Okay.  If you figure that number out and you are less than 25, you are good.  IF you are anywhere between 25-29.99 you are considered overweight.  Anything over 30, you are considered obese.  There are three levels of obese, going up by five.  Over 35 is a level II obese and over 40 is level III.  When I figure out my BMI, I am approaching being overweight…that is madness to me.  When I computed some of this data for other people in my household they were not falling into the categories that they liked either.  When I figured out Jim’s BMI he was considered obese!!  Needless to say he was NOT HAPPY!!  This led to an incredible amount of research on his part to help “debunk” BMI.

Many professional male sports teams print many of the athlete’s body dimensions, their height and weight.  Here is a list of a number of athletes that are categorized as obese or overweight according to the BMI!!

Chicago Bears:

Martellus Bennet  is OBESE.

Devin Hester  is Overweight.

Julius Peppers is OBESE. peppers

Brandon Marshall is Overweight.

Jay Cutler is Overweight.

Matt Forte is Overweight and close to obese.

Brian Urlacher is  OBESE.   brian urlacher 2


Jeff Samardjza is  Overweight.

Anthony Rizzo is  OBESE.rizzo

Starlin Castro is  Overweight.

Darwin Barney, skinniest guy on the team, is Overweight.

Blackhawkspatrick kane

Toews is overweight. Kane is overweight.  Sharp is  overweight.


Carlos Boozer is overweight and nearing obese. boozer

In other words, every professional athlete in Chicago, except for Derek Rose, is either overweight or obese.  The only guys that even come close to being normal weight are the tall & skinny basketball players.  I plugged numbers into the BMI thing, and for a 5’11 man to be at an acceptable weight according to BMI, they need to weigh 180 pounds or less to not be considered “overweight.” And, let’s be honest, most guys on the roster sheet like to appear taller than they are with the intent to intimidate others on paper!!

With some more research over the past few weeks it was disturbing to figure out that our premiums for life insurance were also determined by this BMI number.  The BMI does not take into account LEAN BODY WEIGHT in comparison to FAT BODY MASS.  In the two pictures above, Jay Cutler, the body builder, would be considered  obese on paper…he obviously is NOT (not that I think the way he looks is healthy either…just my opinion), but he is definitely NOT obese.  Yes, Fat Albert is definitely OBESE and could use a diet change and a workout plan.

So, let’s get this straight, my Life Insurance Premiums are determined by a number on paper.   Hmmmmm……imagine if I just saved professional athletes and many of you hundreds of dollars in insurance premiums…I’ve given you information that allows you to look at your policies and determine if you should argue your premiums.  I can handle an intense “No Excuses” workout at least 3 times a week (a selfish plug), run at least 20 miles a week, and eat healthy most of the time (with some cheat days of course), I don’t think I should be considered close to obese.

My point…yes, there is a point, somewhere in all of this gibberish about the BMI, is that we can’t hang our hat on NUMBERS (and neither should anyone else—like insurance companies), not the number on the scale or the number on the BMI index.  For others, myself included, we use the number at the top of the finish line. The little number on the tag of the clothes you buy.   Going a little farther,  the number in our bank account.  What number is enough?  When is the number small enough or big enough?

Yikes…that was long and took me a good three weeks to type .  I have been struggling to write this piece and I am not sure it came out exactly as I had imagined it would on paper, but I wanted to get this information out to you.  I wanted to remind myself and you that those numbers don’t DEFINE who we are and we need to remember they are just that, NUMBERS!!


Reminder…class Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 5:15.

Coming Next Session: A Diet Bet (are you willing to bet on yourself?)

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