Weight Loss Support - BMI charts and their flaws




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berryblondeboys
08-27-2012, 05:47 PM
My two sons today are pictured in my blog.

My oldest is turning 16 in 2 days. He's 6'2" and weighs 140 pounds. That fits within the normal BMI range (though on the lower end). He LOOKS right though. He's thin, but not sickly skinny.

My younger son is 7 years and 4 months and weighs 81 pounds and is 54" tall (4.5 feet exactly). Hearing that you would think chubby kid. BMI charts say he is obese.

http://melissaslife42.blogspot.com/2012/08/first-day-of-school.html

Take a look. Is that obese? Not in my eye and not in his doctor's eye either. But people continually get sucked into this mindset that they have to fit in these parameters.


What if I were to buy into these numbers? Would if my son did and thought he was fat because he weighed 81 pounds? UGH.... I hate those stupid charts.


westcoast rosa
08-27-2012, 06:12 PM
You're little guy isn't obese at all! That is ridiculous!

freelancemomma
08-27-2012, 06:26 PM
I just ran my 14-year-old son's height (5/10"), weight (105 lbs) and age through the CDC's child/teen BMI calculator, and this is the message I got:

"Based on the height and weight entered, the BMI is 15.1 , placing the BMI-for-age below the 1st percentile for boys aged 14 years 8 months. This teen is underweight and should be seen by a healthcare provider for further assessment to determine possible causes of underweight."

Like your son, mine has a slender build and (I believe) light bones. He looks slim, but not skinny, and is well proportioned. So I'm ignoring the message. His doctor certainly doesn't seem concerned.

F.


TripSwitch
08-27-2012, 06:51 PM
The BMI in children IS NOT DIAGNOSTIC for obesity... It is used as a screening tool by healthcare professionals that then requires ADDITIONAL assessments e.g. body fat analysis, skin caliper measurements, etc. to diagnose childhood obesity...

Check out the BMI and children section of the CDC website... they do a pretty good job of explaining it... and it should put your mind at ease...

Oh... and for what it's worth... Your kids look pretty happy and healthy to me... So I say to you "Way to go Mom" whatever you're doing... Keep up the good work...:)

Arctic Mama
08-27-2012, 07:34 PM
Your younger son is carrying a little extra bodyfat, sure, especially compared to his brother, but his frame is MUCH bigger and more dense, too. I'd say they both look very healthy and happy, just built differently. The BMI isn't a great diagnostic tool even for a room of adults, but given the variability in maturity and growth of children, it's absolutely bunk!

Keep it up Melissa, they look great. You've got to know when to take medical diagnostics seriously and when to ignore them, I'd say this sinks firmly into the 'ignore!' column ;)

Steph7409
08-27-2012, 07:57 PM
They both look healthy and happy to me!

berryblondeboys
08-27-2012, 08:03 PM
The BMI in children IS NOT DIAGNOSTIC for obesity... It is used as a screening tool by healthcare professionals that then requires ADDITIONAL assessments e.g. body fat analysis, skin caliper measurements, etc. to diagnose childhood obesity...

Check out the BMI and children section of the CDC website... they do a pretty good job of explaining it... and it should put your mind at ease...

Oh... and for what it's worth... Your kids look pretty happy and healthy to me... So I say to you "Way to go Mom" whatever you're doing... Keep up the good work...:)

I know that. You know that, but people live by these numbers. I see it here all the time. DRIVES ME CRAZY

berryblondeboys
08-27-2012, 08:06 PM
Your younger son is carrying a little extra bodyfat, sure, especially compared to his brother, but his frame is MUCH bigger and more dense, too. I'd say they both look very healthy and happy, just built differently. The BMI isn't a great diagnostic tool even for a room of adults, but given the variability in maturity and growth of children, it's absolutely bunk!

Keep it up Melissa, they look great. You've got to know when to take medical diagnostics seriously and when to ignore them, I'd say this sinks firmly into the 'ignore!' column ;)

My younger son we do have to watch as he tends to pudge up - usually around a growth spurt and then grows into the weight. Doesn't help that he's high functioning autistic and that his low muscle tone makes movement less efficient and more tiring. BUT... no, he isn't obese.

My husband was always slightly pudgy like that as a kid (even more than my younger son). As an adult he's never had a weight problem. He's now 6'1" and 170 and all LEAN mass.

SerenityDiva
08-27-2012, 08:06 PM
Our pediatrician uses it as a tool, but not the only tool, to assess obesity in children. Visually they look fine and I wouldn't worry. We were sent to the doctor because my daughter was "too thin" and the nurse was worried about a health or eating disorder. Obviously she's had her weight and height tracked since birth, mostly through the same doctor except one time she had a visit with a different one. His concern he said would be more if she shot up or gained or lossed a tremendous amount, but he said you're petite...your daughter will be too not surprisingly.

I think a lot of adults worry too much about numbers. I think BMI and weight do help assess our risks, but they aren't to be used solely. JMO.

SerenityDiva
08-27-2012, 08:07 PM
I know that. You know that, but people live by these numbers. I see it here all the time. DRIVES ME CRAZY

LOL yeah that's what I was trying to say, don't ignore them, but don't live solely based on them!

TripSwitch
08-27-2012, 08:48 PM
I know that. You know that, but people live by these numbers. I see it here all the time. DRIVES ME CRAZY

Tell me about it... I still sometimes hold on to the idea that once I get into the "Normal" BMI for my ht & wt that I can breathe a sigh of relief... That I'll be off the ledge and not about to go over the cliff into the abyss of obesity (oh God! Not that...! Please God anything but that...) But really.... I know myself...and for me BMI is a slippery slope... I mean if getting to 24 is good... Well than wouldn't getting to 19 be even BETTER? I mean wouldn't a BMI of 19 just be ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC for me?

Well the problem with that is I'm expecting that once I'm "thin" all my problems will magically be solved and my life will be just perfect... Well unfortunately life doesn't seem to work that way... At least for me anyway...

Now I'd better put my money where my mouth is.... and go change my goal weight...:)

sontaikle
08-27-2012, 09:09 PM
Your kids look great!

It's also easy to see how differently they're built. It's also fascinating how different we can all be :)

I know that. You know that, but people live by these numbers. I see it here all the time. DRIVES ME CRAZY

Yeah totally! I remember when I was expressing worry about whether or not I might have gotten too thin and everyone said: "don't worry, you're at a healthy weight." I got so annoyed; maybe it wasn't healthy for me! Just because I'm 5'3" doesn't mean I'm automatically healthy if I'm in the 104-140lb range.

As it was I got down to 107 at one point and it was too thin for me—even though that's still within the healthy weight range. It's only 5 pounds, but I'm SO MUCH BETTER where I am now.

Vex
08-27-2012, 09:13 PM
I don't think he looks overweight - definitely not obese. However, if he's anything like my son (who is probably aspergers but not diagnosed) we'll have to watch it it as they get older. If they're not into sports, or have any sort of motivation for fitness, it's only a matter of time before the weight starts to come on.

BTW - your older son looks just like you imo.

berryblondeboys
08-27-2012, 09:15 PM
Your kids look great!

It's also easy to see how differently they're built. It's also fascinating how different we can all be :)



Yeah totally! I remember when I was expressing worry about whether or not I might have gotten too thin and everyone said: "don't worry, you're at a healthy weight." I got so annoyed; maybe it wasn't healthy for me! Just because I'm 5'3" doesn't mean I'm automatically healthy if I'm in the 104-140lb range.

As it was I got down to 107 at one point and it was too thin for me—even though that's still within the healthy weight range. It's only 5 pounds, but I'm SO MUCH BETTER where I am now.

It is true - there are RANGES. From pictures I've seen of you - you look fine. People just get fixated on the numbers.

My husband got down to 153 when we were dating. He liked that weight, but he was just too thin. Like long distance runner thin which is just SKINNY. But probably still OK.

kelly315
08-27-2012, 11:00 PM
That is definitely not an obese boy. He looks healthy- not super skinny, but healthy.

FunSize
08-28-2012, 01:18 AM
Yes BMI charts are very flawed! I am 5ft and at 130 pounds, I am a size 2/3 and a small shirt. However, according to BMI charts I am overweight at that size.
However, you can't hardly pinch fat on me. I haven't been that size in 9 years but ask anyone and I definitely was NOT overweight. I was completely healthy sized.

Blueberries
08-28-2012, 03:09 PM
I'm convinced that some kids are made out of bricks. Even if they look small, they are dense. My older son is like that... he actually looks pretty skinny, but when you go to pick him up, you realize how heavy he is.

Also, I find it interesting how some kids tend to grow out first, and then up. Sounds like yours is definitely one of those, from what you said. :)

While I consider my BMI to be a useful starting place, I'm more worried ultimately about my body fat percentage. That will give me the real information about my body that I can use to make decisions about whether I need to lose fat (not just weight).

SerenityDiva
08-28-2012, 05:17 PM
Yes BMI charts are very flawed! I am 5ft and at 130 pounds, I am a size 2/3 and a small shirt. However, according to BMI charts I am overweight at that size.
However, you can't hardly pinch fat on me. I haven't been that size in 9 years but ask anyone and I definitely was NOT overweight. I was completely healthy sized.

That's why I think they tell a partial story, I'm 5'1" and a size 4 when I weigh 127. At 107 I was a 2/3 but hard to maintain after the second kid. My mom is 5'2" and when I was 127; she was about 130-135. She was a size 14/16. Sometimes more. We have the same short waist/high waist and same inseam and bra band size (she's a cup bigger at that time). I think it has a lot to do with muscle, I do build it easier than most, I'm not afraid to lift heavy when I do it, and she doesn't and didn't work out at all save for her cardio rider a few times a year. I would say she's "fluffy" feeling when you hug her. I do think genetically she just doesn't have and never had muscle mass since I can remember, but also she didn't do anything. It's wild.

Meanwhile another friend of mine is 5'7" and her and here best friend are the same size, similar frames, and both work out hard (think 2-3 hours every day since they were 18). Her friend is ripped. She's slim but her body doesn't indicate how heavy she lifts or anything. Both are about the same weight, so it's crazy.

onmiwei
08-28-2012, 05:55 PM
I have never liked those "charts" and what "normal" is. I remember being a teen girl with a 23 inch waist, thick hips and thighs...but still. I weighed more than all my friends...like 20-30lbs more than my friend who was the same height yet we wore the same size. I HAD to be where the stupid charts said I needed to be in my mind or I was fat. I had a very athletic build, out lifting the guys at the gym was extremely easy. My dad used to say it was bad that he had two daughters who could out lift him. I have a large frame...I really did have 36-23-36 shape though the 36 on top was all rib cage. I was obsessed over my weight, measurements and size of clothing size 5-8 depending on brand back in the late 80's early 90's. Not sure if it would still be a size 5...I don't remember hardly anyone being a size 2 or 0 but now that seems common. So I don't know. I would starve myself and exercise constantly to get to what the "charts" said I should be at.

I had one guy who had to weigh us in gym class...a very popular boy a few grades a head of me. I was mortified, the guys in my class all called me fat...I had a JLO behind before it was popular. He put the scale down to this low number and I thought he was making fun of me...he just said "hmmmm" I just gave up the up sign with my thump and he moved the scale up...just a little bit...and said "hmmmm.. I was sure you weighed around the same as my girlfriend.." his girlfriend a cute tiny cheerleader who I would have loved to be as thin as. I still gave him the up motion with my thumb. He finally got up to where I was and he said "WHAT?!?!?! you do NOT weigh as much as me!"

That was the first time I realized perhaps I didn't LOOK as big as the CHARTS made me FEEL.

Now in my mind I am much smaller than I really am. I get shocked every time I catch a glimpse of myself..I never think I am as big as I am. I quit paying attention to the charts and have tried to keep my daughter from them so she doesn't do what I did to myself.

berryblondeboys
08-28-2012, 06:13 PM
I have never liked those "charts" and what "normal" is. I remember being a teen girl with a 23 inch waist, thick hips and thighs...but still. I weighed more than all my friends...like 20-30lbs more than my friend who was the same height yet we wore the same size. I HAD to be where the stupid charts said I needed to be in my mind or I was fat. I had a very athletic build, out lifting the guys at the gym was extremely easy. My dad used to say it was bad that he had two daughters who could out lift him. I have a large frame...I really did have 36-23-36 shape though the 36 on top was all rib cage. I was obsessed over my weight, measurements and size of clothing size 5-8 depending on brand back in the late 80's early 90's. Not sure if it would still be a size 5...I don't remember hardly anyone being a size 2 or 0 but now that seems common. So I don't know. I would starve myself and exercise constantly to get to what the "charts" said I should be at.

I had one guy who had to weigh us in gym class...a very popular boy a few grades a head of me. I was mortified, the guys in my class all called me fat...I had a JLO behind before it was popular. He put the scale down to this low number and I thought he was making fun of me...he just said "hmmmm" I just gave up the up sign with my thump and he moved the scale up...just a little bit...and said "hmmmm.. I was sure you weighed around the same as my girlfriend.." his girlfriend a cute tiny cheerleader who I would have loved to be as thin as. I still gave him the up motion with my thumb. He finally got up to where I was and he said "WHAT?!?!?! you do NOT weigh as much as me!"

That was the first time I realized perhaps I didn't LOOK as big as the CHARTS made me FEEL.

Now in my mind I am much smaller than I really am. I get shocked every time I catch a glimpse of myself..I never think I am as big as I am. I quit paying attention to the charts and have tried to keep my daughter from them so she doesn't do what I did to myself.

This could have been me writing this. My husband's dream weight is 160. Mine is 155. Both are attainable for both of us, but both will take work to get there. He is 7 inches taller than me, but has a finer build than me.

We lift weights together. Starting out, with no previous weight lifting history, I can lift more than him. When I look around the class (bodypump), even after taking a month off, I have more weight on the bars than most women. I'm just build STRONG and big. I shouldn't be surprised that my son is built the SAME, but I do find it shocking how BIG he is... his hands, feet.. just ENORMOUS.

When I was still growing, I weighed 145 and was about 5'5" tall - just starting menstruation... so I was NOT fully developed yet. My measurements then were 35-24-37 and I was a competive swimmer. I was LEAN. Since then I grew and filled out more. I have no idea what my measurements will be when I hit ideal weight (more like ideal body fat percentage as that's what I'm aiming for more than anything). It won't be tiny! That's for sure. Right now my rib cage has NO fat on it and it's 34".

LebenAlles
08-29-2012, 12:25 PM
I'm really glad someone posted about this. I was actually looking through the forums before I posted my own frustrations with BMI.
About 5 years ago, I went from weighing 263 to 212 in about five months. At 263 I was a snug size 18 and at 212 I was a loose fitting size 14. According to the BMI charts, I still need to lose another 65 pounds to no longer be considered obese. Now, I have not been down that low since I came out of the womb, it seems, but I can guarantee you that at that weight I'd look more like a boy than a woman.
My partner, on the other hand, has recently lost 43 pounds, going from 243 to 200, (albeit she is 3 inches taller than me) she currently wears a loose fitting size 18, which is what I'm about to be in, in about ten more pounds (260ish). That's a 60 lb difference and yet we practically wear the same size. It's baffling really.
I know I carry my weight differently than most people I know, and that everyone has a different body type, etc, but it's hard for me to fathom what my goal weight should really be vs what I'm being told. That, coupled with the fact that like many people going through this it's hard to get used to weight loss and actually see your results in the mirror, makes it all the more difficult to get in your mind what healthy really is. And what weight you should really feel proud of.
What is especially frustrating is looking back at photo's from eleventh grade in high school, a time when I thought I was pretty fat because I had been my whole life, and seeing that I was actually in the best shape of my life. It's sad how warped our perception gets through the struggle with weight.

Makes me even more proud of myself and all of the people on here who push past all of that struggle and b.s. in efforts of getting healthy.