What is your BMI?

…and should you care? Perhaps you have no answer to either of those questions and until today neither did I. I still cannot answer the title question but I have a tentative answer for the second. But, between now and the year 2014 we shall in all likelihood become very familiar with said acronym.

A bit of an explanation.BMI stands for Body Mass Index which one can actually calculate for themselves  at the website for the  National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (nhlbisupport.com/bmi) which is an affiliate of the National Institutes  of Health. When one provides the appropriate figures the site calculates one’s body mass index on a numerical scale. The numbers are categorized on four levels which are underweight, normal, overweight and obese.

As  another feature of the economic stimulus plan sees the light of  day, we are learning that one’s BMI is going to become a very important number indeed. By the way, both of the above mentioned agencies belong to the Department of Health and Human Services. That brings us to an announcement made a few days  ago by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The secretary announced new regs this week  stipulating that the electronic health records that we are supposed to have by 2014 ( thanks to Obama’s  2009 economic stimulus bill)  must  record the BMI as well as height and weight,etc. The law also requires that these electronic records be  available on a  national exchange, with the proper security measures of course. Health care providers must, by 2014, establish meaningful  use of these electronic health records or face cuts in their  Medicare/Medicaid payments.

Ok, no what might be the reason mandating that BMI be maintained ? How exactly is it used? Well, the CDC uses the figure as its primary method for measuring obesity.

Ok, what is the first lady’s big mission, childhood obesity. Various and sundry legislators continue to float proposals to heavily tax soft drinks and the fast food industry is  a prime target of  Science in the Public Interest. Perhaps none of this means anything but I believe that it does. Added together it is rather strong effort at dictating what you can eat or perhaps even what you can weigh ( admittedly taken to te extreme) and if you do not comply, perhaps there could be a health insurance surcharge as  a penalty. Shucks, maybe one of the unknown provisions in Obamacare, as Speaker Pelosi termed it, already does this.

Don’t you just love the concept of greater government control?


July 16, 2010 - Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Isn’t this BMI getting alittle to far into our personal business? Wonder if the fearless leader Barack will be the first in line to give up all his secret medical records?

    Comment by goodtimepolitics | July 17, 2010 | Reply

  2. I think it is far over the line and could easily be used as a tool to “punish” by increasing insurance rates, etc. Ironically, CBS Sunday Morning program aired a segment today that really emphasized BMI. Oh, by the way, on Drudge, there is a picture of him chowing down on a big ice cream cone. Low fat, no doubt!

    Comment by Tarheeltalker | July 18, 2010 | Reply

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