Thursday, 18 March 2010

Discredited systems causing discrimination.

I suspect that this is the beginning of a new topic series here, as this is not the first of these I've come across, and I doubt seriously whether it will be the last! Not only that, but this is not the first time rank stupidity from the county of Shropshire has made it to the national media.

A boy of five has been labelled ".....clinically obese as his body mass index put him in the 99th percentile [for his age group]." The child is 3'10" (1.17m) tall and weighs 4st 2lbs (26.3kg), and if you look at the picture of him from the Daily Telegraph, I find it hard to believe anyone with a gramme of common sense would call this boy obese.

Well, as usual it appears that "common sense" is a mis-noma these days as they have used the modern version of the height/weight chart: the BMI Index, which doesn't take account of the body's density in any way therefore even most super-fit athletes come out as clinically obese!

Even the NHS give the guidance to their own nursing staff that: ".............the [BMI] system is to be taken as a guide only and should not be used for children or the severely overwieght."

For those of you who are wondering how it's done, the formula is simple, take the person's weight in kilos and divide this by the person's height in metres squared. If you work in Imperial measures, then its pounds  x 703 divided by height in inches squared: height versus weight. quid pro quo!

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