Yourwellness Magazine Follows Up New NICE BMI Guidelines

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With the latest NICE guidelines advising doctors to consider a lower BMI when identifying health condition risks among BAME individuals, Yourwellness Magazine explored the shortcomings of the BMI, and a new equation that aims to address them.

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According to the latest guidance from NICE, released the 3rd of July 2013, healthcare professionals should consider a lower body mass index (BMI) when identifying the risk of weight-related conditions among people from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups. Catherine Law, Chair of the group that developed the guidance, commented, “There is clear evidence that black Asian and minority (BAME) groups are at a higher risk of diabetes than white populations with the same BMI and waist circumference values… Our recommendations should help those assessing BMI and waist circumference to be aware that people from BAME groups are at equivalent risk for diabetes and mortality at a lower BMI than white people and then to act to help reduce those risks. We also recommend that health professionals and managers work in partnership with existing BAME community initiatives to raise awareness of this risk.”

With this in mind, Yourwellness Magazine look a closer look at BMI, and how a new way of calculating it might solve some of its problems. According to Yourwellness Magazine, “Your Body Mass Index (BMI) can help you to work out your weight loss wellbeing, as it tells you whether you are ‘normal’, ‘underweight’, ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’ for your size. However, mathematician Nick Trefethen, Professor of Numerical Analysis at Oxford University, believes that the way BMI is calculated is wrong, and has proposed a new method.” (

Yourwellness Magazine explained that the current method for working out BMI was developed over 150 years ago, and consists of taking a person’s weight in kilograms, and dividing it by their height squared (in metres). However, Yourwellness Magazine noted the views of Nick Trefethen, who argued that, while the BMI looks precise, it’s actually an approximation of a more complex problem. Trefethen proposed that BMI should be worked out via: 1.3 x weight, divided by height to the power 2.5. However, Yourwellness Magazine commented that this new equation is one of many that doesn’t fully address the problems of BMI.

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