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Old 10th August 2008, 08:45 PM   #1
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Average Weight vs. height

My friend is convinced that she has above average weight for her height. Now, I'm not talking about the healthy weight, just that average, because she knows that her weight is healthy. So, what is the average weight for a 17 year old girl with a height of 5' 2"?
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Old 10th August 2008, 09:14 PM   #2
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If you're after statistics, could you provide more details (ethnicity, country)?
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Old 10th August 2008, 09:17 PM   #3
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she's white and lives in Michigan
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Old 10th August 2008, 09:21 PM   #4
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8-10 stones.
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Old 10th August 2008, 09:23 PM   #5
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According to this website, the average weight for a white woman in the US is 162.9 pounds.

They don't appear to have a figure for your friend, but there is chart with height and weight averages: http://pediatrics.about.com/library/.../ngirlstwo.htm

The average BMI for 17 year old girls is 21:
http://pediatrics.about.com/library/.../ngirlsbmi.htm
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Old 10th August 2008, 09:25 PM   #6
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The average weight and height commonly used in the US is tremendously out of date.
Most of the "averages" especially BMI is based on decades old data.

So just about every average person nowadays are considered overweight or even fat by those standards.
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Old 10th August 2008, 09:28 PM   #7
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Hmm, my link says their figure is from 2000- but I suppose they could have been using older data.
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Old 10th August 2008, 09:31 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mikedenk View Post
8-10 stones.
could I have a source? 'cause her weight (130 lbs) falls within this range.
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Old 11th August 2008, 07:52 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by foxjwill View Post
could I have a source? 'cause her weight (130 lbs) falls within this range.
That is EXACTLY the size of my wife when we got married 22 years ago.

She thought she was fat, too.

Now, she's much...taller.
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Old 11th August 2008, 08:00 PM   #10
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I'm sorry, but the BMI is ridiculous. No wonder we all think we're fat. I'm six foot tall, and I've had my body fat calculated. To get into the 'healthy' range for BMI, I would have to loose fifteen pounds under 0% fat! My doctor doesn't give me crap anymore about getting down to a 'healthy' weight.
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Old 11th August 2008, 08:05 PM   #11
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Incidentally, today there's this Yahoo News talking about the inadequacy of the BMI, and about the waist size being a more accurate way of determining someone's health risks:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080812/...thy_obesity_10
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Old 11th August 2008, 08:17 PM   #12
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I lost 130 pounds via weight watchers and exercise. They used this chart for the proper height to weight range. I think it's a little off, IMHO, because I'm 5'10" and for me to be 167 pounds, I'd look emancipated. As it was, my personal weigh is 185 pounds. (I'm 200 now).

Here's the link, for what it's worth. Personally, I think it aims the weight a little low, and I just saw that it is based on BMI index, which I don't fully trust either, but it may help.

http://www.weightwatchers.com/health...thyweight.aspx
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Old 11th August 2008, 09:07 PM   #13
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6' recomended:169 maximum:184

What I would weigh with 0% body fat: 211 lbs.

That is right, the max weight that Watchers says I should be is nearly thirty pounds under what I could hope to achieve, and that is if I managed to loose the weight without adding muscle mass. That is thirty pounds under an already unhealthy goal. My step brother once got down to almost no body fat for one of his shows, and it caused major health problems. Over weight is almost always better than under weight.

Telling if a person is healthy or not is not as simple as 'height weight,' or even 'age height weight'. The real danger is if insurance companies and employers start to use the equations for rates, and if you can be covered at all.
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Old 11th August 2008, 10:13 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by JFrankA View Post
...IMHO, because I'm 5'10" and for me to be 167 pounds, I'd look emancipated. As it was, my personal weigh is 185 pounds. (I'm 200 now). ...
So, "The Emancipation Proclamation" issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862 demanded that slaves must become skinnified?

Sorry, JFrankA, for the humor at your expense, but I think the word you seek is 'emaciated'.

Close but not quite.

Cheers!

Dave
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Old 12th August 2008, 02:23 AM   #15
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Well there's a 50% chance she will weigh over the average
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Old 12th August 2008, 03:54 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by CaveDave View Post
So, "The Emancipation Proclamation" issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862 demanded that slaves must become skinnified?

Sorry, JFrankA, for the humor at your expense, but I think the word you seek is 'emaciated'.

Close but not quite.

Cheers!

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D'OH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




It's okay. I tend to make those kind of mistakes once in a while.
...actually, I'm going to blame my spell checker on this one.... well.... I clicked on the wrong word, but it is the spell checker's fault...
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Old 12th August 2008, 11:36 AM   #17
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You should also consider the individual's frame size (small/medium/large).
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Old 12th August 2008, 11:48 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by tyr_13 View Post
6' recomended:169 maximum:184

What I would weigh with 0% body fat: 211 lbs.

That is right, the max weight that Watchers says I should be is nearly thirty pounds under what I could hope to achieve, and that is if I managed to loose the weight without adding muscle mass. That is thirty pounds under an already unhealthy goal.
I'm right there with you. Five years ago my doc told me that at 6-1 and 220 lbs I was "dangerously obese". I pointed out that I completed a marathon a week earlier and generally either ran 5 miles or boxed three rounds in the gym every day. He was unapologetic and simply pointed to the BMI chart on the wall.

I have a check-up in September and I now weigh in at 230. I wonder if he'll have me committed.
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Old 12th August 2008, 12:58 PM   #19
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Yeah, I guess they don't take into consideration the ability to leg press 1000+ pounds, hike for days, or do a split, when they come up with these 'healthy' weights.

On the plus side I get to fool weight guesses at the fairs! They always guess 50lbs below my actual weight (which I refuse to say, because it doesn't matter).
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Old 12th August 2008, 01:28 PM   #20
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Charts,schmartz. All B.S.

BMI and those older Met Life charts are equal. Here's the fomula they use:

Men, start at 5 feet and 125#.
Women, start at 5 feet and 100#.

Here's the complicated part:

Add FIVE POUNDS PER ADDITIONAL INCH of height.

Now make up a chart. Jiggle some of the limits by a couple pounds, so it doesn't look like you dreamed it up.

Which seems awful pat to me. But it works perfectly. Then, 50 years later, invent the BMI. Pick an Ideal BMI by comparing the BMI number to the above chart. Wah-La, an excellent argument from authority.
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Old 12th August 2008, 01:53 PM   #21
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BMI works ok as a basic estimate of healthy weight for individuals who have a body composition not too far from the average.

My BMI is 23-24. I'm 6ft tall and weight about 170lbs.
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Old 12th August 2008, 02:03 PM   #22
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As far as I know, the problem is you need not just height but bone size/structure as well to calculate an appropriate weight.
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Old 12th August 2008, 03:38 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by madurobob View Post
I'm right there with you. Five years ago my doc told me that at 6-1 and 220 lbs I was "dangerously obese". I pointed out that I completed a marathon a week earlier and generally either ran 5 miles or boxed three rounds in the gym every day. He was unapologetic and simply pointed to the BMI chart on the wall.

I have a check-up in September and I now weigh in at 230. I wonder if he'll have me committed.
I would be a bit uncomfortable with a doctor who clearly has no common sense.
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Old 12th August 2008, 03:49 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by 196 View Post
You should also consider the individual's frame size (small/medium/large).
I wonder how well wrist and elbow size correlate to "frame size". I know people with thin wrists but wide shoulders, rib cages, and hips. Then again, I know a tiny, thin little guy with absurdly long and heavy-boned arms, very thick wrists, and giant hands.
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Old 12th August 2008, 04:51 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Modified View Post
I would be a bit uncomfortable with a doctor who clearly has no common sense.
He's really quite good (and has gorgeous nurses). However, he is somewhat humorless and so he and I are rarely on the same page. I suppose he thinks I'm a silly buffoon while I think he's a stick-in-the-mud. Still, I trust his medical expertise. I suspect that if he knew I wouldn't call ******** to his BMI reference he would offer a more nuanced opinion.
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Old 13th August 2008, 07:42 AM   #26
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I finally found a study of fatties who lost weight, not vs naturally slender people, but vs other fatties that did NOT lose weight.

500 subject, 500 controls, study length 5 years. Loss of 50 pounds each, or maybe 50 kilos. Anyways, plenty of loss.

No advantage so far as heart attacks, nor cancer rates. Though diabetes dropped like a rock.

Seems to me this study proves that commonality is not causality. It isn't the weight, or the diabetes, that causes heart attacks. But the diabetes, the fatness, and the heart attacks are probably all caused by the poor health that is supposed to be cured by the weight loss. The poor health is the cause, NOT the fatness.

This puts the whole height/weight/BMI vs health discussion to the lie. Yes, there is commonality, No, there is not the causality. Yet.

So, making people 'healthy' via losing weight has no more benefit than making them healthy by adding inches of height surgically would have. Both ways would improve BMI...

PS: the only way to get people to lose weight and keep it off long enough for a study of that magnitude was via gastric surgeries.
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Old 13th August 2008, 08:10 AM   #27
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Wasn't there a longer, larger study related to 'healthy eating' for women that came to the same thing? The 'fat' women were just as healthy (and in a couple of areas more so) as the 'thin' group?
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Old 13th August 2008, 08:20 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by tyr_13 View Post
Yeah, I guess they don't take into consideration the ability to leg press 1000+ pounds, hike for days, or do a split, when they come up with these 'healthy' weights.
The whole point of BMI, and any other measure, is that it is a guideline for the average person. Since the average person does not run marathons or leg press 1000 pounds, BMI will obviously not work for people who can. In general, if you have very low body fat, your BMI measure will be higher than the average person. If a doctor ignores this and tells you you are overweight anyway, that just means the doctor is an idiot, it does not mean BMI is useless.

Originally Posted by paximperium
The average weight and height commonly used in the US is tremendously out of date.
Most of the "averages" especially BMI is based on decades old data.

So just about every average person nowadays are considered overweight or even fat by those standards.
But the average person nowadays is overweight or fat. The fact that BMI tells you this doesn't mean it's out of date.

Of course, there are certainly problems with BMI. As already noted, it is only valid for the average person, which unfortunately doesn't really include anyone who does regular exercise. The point about it being out of date is also a valid one, not because it shows that people are overweight, but because we know more now than we used to. For example, I seem to remember reading that the low end of the healthy range is actually less healthy than being a few points above the high end. And it's entirely possible that new measures will turn up which are much more useful, either because they are more accurate or just more generally applicable. However, that does not mean it makes sense to complain about BMI being useless just because you happen to fall within the relatively small percentage of people it doesn't work well for.
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Old 13th August 2008, 08:28 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
No advantage so far as heart attacks, nor cancer rates. Though diabetes dropped like a rock.

Seems to me this study proves that commonality is not causality. It isn't the weight, or the diabetes, that causes heart attacks. But the diabetes, the fatness, and the heart attacks are probably all caused by the poor health that is supposed to be cured by the weight loss.
The big problem with these studies is that there can be lasting effects. The fact that people who lose weight don't become healthier doesn't mean that being overweight didn't cause the problems, it could just mean that being overweight has already caused them, so losing it doesn't help. For example, eating a diet full of fast food and not exercising will tend to result in you being overweight and having clogged arteries. If you now lose that weight, your arteries stay just as bad as they were before. This shows two things. Firstly, that although being overweight is not necessarily the cause of bad health, it is an indicator of it. Encouraging behaviour that results in loss of weight is encouraging healthy behaviour. Secondly, that while telling people to lose weight may not be much help, there is even more need to encourage people not to get overweight in the first place.

Quote:
The poor health is the cause, NOT the fatness.
No. That statement is exactly the kind you are criticising, just in the other direction. If you can't say that the weight isn't the cause of poor health, you certainly can't say that the weight is the result of poor health. They could be comepletely independent or they could both be symptoms of something else entirely.
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Old 13th August 2008, 09:27 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Cuddles View Post
The big problem with these studies is that there can be lasting effects. The fact that people who lose weight don't become healthier doesn't mean that being overweight didn't cause the problems, it could just mean that being overweight has already caused them, so losing it doesn't help. For example, eating a diet full of fast food and not exercising will tend to result in you being overweight and having clogged arteries. If you now lose that weight, your arteries stay just as bad as they were before. This shows two things. Firstly, that although being overweight is not necessarily the cause of bad health, it is an indicator of it. Encouraging behaviour that results in loss of weight is encouraging healthy behaviour. Secondly, that while telling people to lose weight may not be much help, there is even more need to encourage people not to get overweight in the first place.



No. That statement is exactly the kind you are criticising, just in the other direction. If you can't say that the weight isn't the cause of poor health, you certainly can't say that the weight is the result of poor health. They could be comepletely independent or they could both be symptoms of something else entirely.
But that study does prove that weight loss DOES NOT prevent heart attacks. And. being five year duration, any recovery from 'hardened arteries' would have been evident.

And, re: "symptoms of something else entirely", that IS poor health. Which was not improved by weight loss.

So the only thing weight loss helps prevent is direct diabetic complications. Whether 'fat prevention' would help or not is unknown.

Personal anecdote: My mitochondrial metabolic disease is the cause of my rhabdomyolisis, myopathy, myoglobinuria, heart attack at 49, and diabetes. The overweight is another symptom, NOT the root cause.

Weight loss is TREATING THE SYMPTOM, NOT THE DISEASE.
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Old 13th August 2008, 09:42 AM   #31
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BMI is a joke. I have a BMI above 30 (about 33 right now). I am technically considered obese. At one point, my doctor pointed out my BMI was so high and said I should cut like 15% of my body weight. I will admit that I am not in the best shape right now and could lose a few pounds, but if I cut that much weight I would be in single digits for body fat and still have a BMI over 30 (considered obesity threshold). In order to have a "normal" BMI, I would have to weigh about 175 lbs (I'm nominally 5'11"). This whole idea of average or normal weights as a blanket measure is flawed. There are better ways of evaluating the health of an individual such as blood tests (cholesterol, liver function etc), blood pressure, examining exercise and eating habits etc. I think a more tailored approach is needed. Health of the person should be determined by measures that accurately reflect the person's genetics and habits.
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Old 13th August 2008, 10:24 AM   #32
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Do the charts just state an average? Average does not mean "healthy". It's one thing to say "this is the average weight for this height" and another to say "this is a healthy weight for this height."
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Old 13th August 2008, 01:21 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Cuddles View Post
The big problem with these studies is that there can be lasting effects.
Yep. Does obesity have a 'washout period'? Unknown. Therefore, crossover-type studies may not be very informative.
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Old 13th August 2008, 01:36 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by van_dutch View Post
BMI is a joke. I have a BMI above 30 (about 33 right now). I am technically considered obese. At one point, my doctor pointed out my BMI was so high and said I should cut like 15% of my body weight. I will admit that I am not in the best shape right now and could lose a few pounds, but if I cut that much weight I would be in single digits for body fat and still have a BMI over 30 (considered obesity threshold). In order to have a "normal" BMI, I would have to weigh about 175 lbs (I'm nominally 5'11").
I often hear that, but I wonder how you know what your body fat percentage actually is? Tanitas are +/-3%, and more accurate tests are expensive and time consuming. My experience in personal training is that pretty much everybody who gets tested has underestimated his/her %. Often by quite a lot.

An example is this old lady who weighed under 100lbs and looked thin, but was still 38% fat - unexpectedly high. And many of my athletic clients are in the 35% range, too. Bringing one particular female client below 10% would mean her losing 50lbs. She simply didn't believe it, and got an independent caliper and tank test at the local college. Unfortunately, the Tanita was exactly right on at 35%.




Originally Posted by van_dutch View Post
This whole idea of average or normal weights as a blanket measure is flawed. There are better ways of evaluating the health of an individual such as blood tests (cholesterol, liver function etc), blood pressure, examining exercise and eating habits etc. I think a more tailored approach is needed. Health of the person should be determined by measures that accurately reflect the person's genetics and habits.
To be frank, at this time, all those metrics you propose are also very controversial. It is precisely because we have so many interacting variables that studies produce findings that are hard to interpret, and study design for clear results is the greatest challenge.

The current emphasis is toward learning the most about variables that are easiest and safest for laypersons to measure.
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Old 13th August 2008, 03:15 PM   #35
van_dutch
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Originally Posted by blutoski View Post
I often hear that, but I wonder how you know what your body fat percentage actually is? Tanitas are +/-3%, and more accurate tests are expensive and time consuming. My experience in personal training is that pretty much everybody who gets tested has underestimated his/her %. Often by quite a lot.

An example is this old lady who weighed under 100lbs and looked thin, but was still 38% fat - unexpectedly high. And many of my athletic clients are in the 35% range, too. Bringing one particular female client below 10% would mean her losing 50lbs. She simply didn't believe it, and got an independent caliper and tank test at the local college. Unfortunately, the Tanita was exactly right on at 35%.

To be frank, at this time, all those metrics you propose are also very controversial. It is precisely because we have so many interacting variables that studies produce findings that are hard to interpret, and study design for clear results is the greatest challenge.

The current emphasis is toward learning the most about variables that are easiest and safest for laypersons to measure.
I have never had my body fat officially measured but have done it electronically. The results put it in the mid to upper teens although it is probably now in the low to mid twenties as I have not been hitting the weights with as much intensity of late. I based my comments on these values. Thus, if these numbers are accurate (I believe they are reasonably accurate but not as exact as other methods), the "normal" value of BMI would require me to lose all fat and then a bit of muscle. My doctor's recommendation at the time would require me to lose a substantial amount of muscle or essentially all body fat.

Reading back on my post, the first little bit wasn't exactly as I intended it. I realize that none of the tests are perfect yet, but I was speaking more at the blanket use of a given test (namely BMI) as a measure of health. I think people are too diverse to examine health in terms of a single number. I was proposing that a greater combination of tests be used to determine the health of the person. The post did not come out exactly as I intended so to sum up:

I don't think any of the measures are perfect yet. In some combination tailored more towards the specific individual (not using BMI in the case of a body builder because it yields nothing or similar situations), I think better results can be had. In other words, like most weight related things, there is no magic solution.

Last edited by van_dutch; 13th August 2008 at 03:16 PM. Reason: accidentally deleted part of the quote
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Old 13th August 2008, 04:57 PM   #36
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She's not overweight. She's underheight. As any basketball coach will tell you, you can't teach height. It's a hopeless case for sure.
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Old 13th August 2008, 05:22 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Cuddles View Post
The whole point of BMI, and any other measure, is that it is a guideline for the average person. Since the average person does not run marathons or leg press 1000 pounds, BMI will obviously not work for people who can. In general, if you have very low body fat, your BMI measure will be higher than the average person. If a doctor ignores this and tells you you are overweight anyway, that just means the doctor is an idiot, it does not mean BMI is useless.

If all the BMI does is tell you what is average, not healthy, than it is useless. Very few people are going to be 'average.' About 50% will be bellow and 50% will be above. If people use the BMI and say, "80% (or whatever number) of Americans are above average BMI," that does mean the BMI is wrong (unless the 20% that are under are twice as under as the 80% that are over).
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Old 13th August 2008, 08:05 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by tyr_13 View Post
...(unless the 20% that are under are twice as under as the 80% that are over).
It's the other way around, of course. Most people are below average weight. See http://www.halls.md/bmi/nhanes3.htm. Those data are for 1988-1994. I would guess that the means and medians have slightly greater separations now.
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Old 14th August 2008, 07:35 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
But that study does prove that weight loss DOES NOT prevent heart attacks. And. being five year duration, any recovery from 'hardened arteries' would have been evident.
That's exactly what I said. What I also pointed out is that there is a very big difference between losing weight and not gaining it in the first place. While that study shows that losing weight does not prevent heart attacks, it says nothing about whether being fat is healthier than not being fat. In order to test that you would need to have people who were never fat in the first place and compare them with people who were.

Quote:
And, re: "symptoms of something else entirely", that IS poor health. Which was not improved by weight loss.
No. For example, if you eat only burgers and chips, you are likely to become fat and unhealthy. If you then go on a diet where you still eat only burgers and chips, but less of them, you will lose weight, but you will likely still be just as unhealthy. Both the weight and the poor health are symptoms of a poor diet. The point is that while weight may not be the direct cause of the poor health, it can be an indicator of poor health. Altering the behaviour to remove one symptom is certainly not guaranteed to help the other, as the study in question shows, but you cannot conlcude from that that they are independent.

Quote:
So the only thing weight loss helps prevent is direct diabetic complications.
Personally, I'd consider that a fairly important factor, even if that is the only thing that losing weight helps.

Quote:
Personal anecdote: My mitochondrial metabolic disease is the cause of my rhabdomyolisis, myopathy, myoglobinuria, heart attack at 49, and diabetes. The overweight is another symptom, NOT the root cause.
Certainly there are diseases that will cause people to put on weight. I'm sure no-one would ever deny that. However, that does not mean it is sensible to argue that because some cases are caused by disease, all cases must be. Most of the time people are overweight simply because they eat too much.

Quote:
Weight loss is TREATING THE SYMPTOM, NOT THE DISEASE.
In some cases, sure. But not in all. Certainly the evidence presented so far does not support your conclusion in general.

Originally Posted by tyr_13 View Post
If all the BMI does is tell you what is average, not healthy, than it is useless. Very few people are going to be 'average.' About 50% will be bellow and 50% will be above. If people use the BMI and say, "80% (or whatever number) of Americans are above average BMI," that does mean the BMI is wrong (unless the 20% that are under are twice as under as the 80% that are over).
Please go back and read my post again, that is almost the exact opposite of what I said. BMI does not measure the average and is not supposed to. It says what is healthy for the average person. If the average person is overweight, which they are in America and many other western countries, then BMI will say that most people are overweight. You cannot asses how accurate BMI, or any other measure, is simply from looking at the average. Any measure of weight that simply compared you to everyone else would be absolutely nonsensical.
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Old 14th August 2008, 08:23 AM   #40
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I wonder how some sea mammals are able to be obese and healthy simultaneously? They somehow manage to have a suit of lard without the internal negativities.
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