Friday, 27 September 2013

BMI is you

I've never managed to work up any frenzy about body mass index. Yet it is one of the more prominent targets for reversing the standard operational fat hating diatribe.

For me, the issue has always been in the underlying proposition. That fatness or other weight category is something you can objectively measure, on paper, using numbers. When it is very much a judgement of the eye. In other words, most people see someone and in the main can see they're thin, slim, plump, fat.

I've never seen how that can be adequately replicated, to an objective standard. This means it isn't really a vehicle for science, which has to operate on that principle in order to be science.

Then there's the accompanying supposition, that weight can be usefully framed as illness. Nope. Risk, associated or real is a display of the functions underlying weight i.e. metabolism. This forms many arcs which are not meaningfully contained in size groupings.

i.e. Body shape, hour glass, pear shaped, V shape is not weight. Function,the last one seems to function differently to the prior one, regardless of the size of the person. How does it make sense to put a 300 pound pear shape with a 300 pound apple shape, if you wish to know what's going on with either?

Furthermore, that weight can be framed as illness in a gradated step by step, pound by pound progression.

Definitely not-obviously.

You could look at a slim, not even thin person. They could be dying of anorexia or some other condition. Have a congenital organ defect which may or may not reduce their lifespan, despite affecting their general health-or not. Most likely they'd be pretty healthy and robust. The dying anorexic could weigh more than the common or garden healthy slim.

Weight doesn't make much sense without context. And the point about disease is it does or should. Malaria in itself, does not tell you about the sex, age, class, race, sexuality of a infected person. It is its own story.

That aside, there's something glaringly obvious that's doesn't seem to be mentioned much if at all. Body mass index measures the whole of a person. That in itself should disqualify it from having any business defining disease of any kind.

This is something that should be taken for granted without any need for a moment's thought. That though we may be unfortunate to have disease, we are not and cannot ever be disease. If you do not understand that.

I can confidently state, you are stupid. And that includes the AMA. Dumb as mud, which is fine-if they don't have the power to press their contempt for their own intelligence on the rest of us.

God botherers may have a bit of an excuse for falling for this crap-though I wonder how defining yourself as in-your creator's-image sits with that image as disease. Sounds a tad blasphemous to me but whatev's. The idea that the physical being is not you is rooted in their faith(s). But if you have no religion, you have no business pretending, you-are-not-your-body is a biological fact.

Having made that error you should at least be able to recognize and quickly correct it after having been told. But no, "atheists" still don't get body mass index=human being. Its a person, it therefore cannot describe disease, full stop.

The end. 

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