What the BMI can do - and what it cannot

By Sarah RaparoliLex KlerenMisch Pautsch Switch to German for original article

The body mass index is a popular indicator for determining underweight, overweight or normal weight, but has come under criticism time and again in the past. Rightly so? Is it outdated? Yes and no, say two nutritionists in an interview with the Lëtzebuerger Journal.

Angela Duraes has been active as a nutritionist since 2009 and specialises in obesity and eating behaviour disorders. "The topic is so interesting because it is so important, " Angela Duraes replies when asked why she wants to talk about the topic of body mass index, or BMI for short. "Because people usually only look at their BMI, which is anything but good." As a reminder, the index is the ratio of body weight and height, specifically: body weight in kilograms divided by height in metres squared. According to international values, the normal weight of a person as defined by the index is between 18.5 and 24.9. A value between 25.0 and 29.9 is called overweight, above 30 is called obesity. These values apply to adults – different values and guidelines apply to children and senior citizens. Duraes follows up her initial statement by adding: "The index is used so often because it is so easy to use. However, simply taking BMI into account is not enough.

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