Being overweight is associated with multiple negative health effects, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Conversely, weight loss can lower the risk of developing such illnesses, or lighten their burden. Now, a new study from Brazil found that besides physical improvements, slimming down can also produce positive outcomes for the mind.
BMI is a ratio of weight to height (weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters). The BMI was devised in the nineteenth century as a statistical tool and meant to be a way to assess weight in the population generally. However, over time, it became an easy and inexpensive way to target individuals as being too large.
We all know that to lower our risk of some conditions and diseases the advice given is usually to drop some pounds. But many of us take dieting too far and forget that there is a difference between lean and skinny, the former a reflection of robust health and fitness, the latter frankly potentially unhealthy and frankly unattractive.
After studying about three million cases, the authors of a new study found that for people who are older than 60, having a body-mass index (BMI) that ranks you as overweight may reduce your mortality risk. And while obese people had a greater mortality risk over all, those at the lowest level of obesity were not more likely to die during a given period than people of normal weight. The reception to this data has not been kind.
Israel's has recently banned "too-skinny" models requiring they must have a BMI of at least 18.5 in order to work. There are very strict rules about using models who fall below the magic number. However, this ruling is unfair. BMI is, after all, not always an indicator of health -- there have been many publications that have proven that. For example, people with very light bones and athletes are more likely to fall out of said number, and still be relatively healthy. In addition, one can meet these minimum requirements, yet still look extremely thin -- muscle, after all, weighs more than fat.