Debunking the BMI

Busting commonly held myths about fitness, VLCC founder Vandana Luthra says the body mass index is faulty and is not scientific

Published: 27th November 2014 06:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th November 2014 06:01 AM   |  A+A-


HYDERABAD: India is fast rushing to claim the top position of being the most obese country in the world--which currently belongs to the USA. If you are one of the 10,000 people who constitute this category in India, you may want to take these figures- and your next meal - with a grain of salt, because they’re based on a calculation called the body mass index(BMI). The BMI according to experts at VLCC is faulty and not scientific.

Speaking to City Express, Vandana Luthra, the founder of the wellness chain says being thin doesn’t necessarily mean that one is healthy. “A person with normal BMI may not really be healthy. In fact, the BMI is not a measure of good health at all,” she reveals.

As part of its Anti Obesity Day on November 26, conceptualised 13 years ago, the wellness group’s research and development team has unveiled a knowledge paper which attempts to bust common myths that being thin doesn’t necessarily mean that one is healthy and thus, raises questions about its accuracy to measure fat.

The wellness group’s R&D team which comprises of over 1,000 doctors from all branches and nutritionists comes up with research that’s medically driven. “In our research on BMI that involved 400 respondents, we found that even for people who had normal BMI of 22.9 had fat accumulation,” Vandana points out. She also stresses that while 18.5-24.9 is deemed normal range overseas, for Indians 22.9-24.9 is normal range. “This, clearly indicates that Indians even if they are thin, can have fat accumulation under or around organs and around the abdominal area and BMI does not give any indication of this. And, this is quite scary,” the wellness entrepreneur reveals. She adds that ignoring fat distribution in the body is like giving invitation to diseases like strokes, diabetes and often death too.

So, why is BMI still being used so widely? For one it’s simple and secondly medical practitioners focus mostly on curative measures rather than preventive measures. “This is where VLCC comes into picture. We use ‘DNA Fit’ test which reveals the genetic makeup of a person and their susceptibility,” says Vandana. The test, a new indicator of health, involves a swab test that is sent overseas and results come in 14 days. What’s more is that it is easy on the pocket too. In line with the 26- year-old wellness chain’s motto “transforming lives”, its founder says its time to make health and wellness a big movement in the country.    

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