Sunday, 18 July 2010

The BMI Game

Part of the stimulus package involved a change to the healthcare system that we have today...which cash was pushed toward doctors and clinics for electronic records. In exchange for stimulus money usage....by 2014....your doctor was supposed to report back to the US government your body mass index.

This BMI...would include your height and weight....with a scientific calculation or two....and you can pronounce the guy as regular, borderline, overweight or obese.

Naturally....you are scratching your head and wondering why the US federal government cares about this. And some folks today....have started to question what exactly the government intends to get out of this magic number.

My first introduction to BMI came exactly twenty-four hours after I returned from DESERT STORM in 1991. The Air Force had decided that this BMI science was ready to use and they'd incorporate it into our weight program.

It was a funny feeling. I came back from the war having lost around a dozen pounds. I was actually about six pounds under my max and felt very comfortable walking into the orderly room. Then they pulled out the tape....measured my gut and neck....and pronounced me overweight. I was going to be pushed off to the overweight program....just twenty-four hours after returning from the war. It was a nice welcome....so to speak.

Then a curious thing happened. The guy taking the measure suddenly had orders a week later....and this matter was forgotten.

I went into the gym and explained the situation....and the 'expert' there then offered his advice. I was to bulk up on neck muscles and do sit-ups. It took three weeks, but I sliced an inch easily off my BMI. And another three weeks went by as I sliced a second inch off. I was fixed for any future test.

The BMI? Well....it's mostly a joke. It fantasizes about this body "look". If you can achieve a 19-inch neck....which is silly....then you can carry an extra a little extra on your gut. A guy could still carry 230 pounds.

So we go back to the federal government's use of BMI. If you ask for such information and demand it....doctors typically comply.

So the next time you walk into the doctor's office and they mention BMI....just smile and say you are six foot six and eighty-eight pounds. Refuse the measure business and just tell them to write down what you said. The nurse will argue but I suspect the doctor will agree and just note this for the government's database.

So sometime in 2014....the President will awaken and be told that the nation is amazingly healthy.....and for some reason....most everyone is exceptionally tall and everyone weighs around eighty-eight pounds. The President will pause and say that's not possible...and then rush out to pass another law that says TSA cops must be present as BMIs take place.

Just my two cents.