Dwight Howard is Fat, But Gronk is Obese

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Probably the most common New Year’s Resolution for 2014 is to reduce Body Mass Index (BMI) by losing weight. However, the staff of Fatpacking weight-loss backpacking vacations say that BMI is a horribly misleading metric that penalizes people for being fit.

Dwight and Gronk

Fat . . . . . . . . . . Obese

BMI is stupid.

Look at this picture of pro basketball player, Dwight Howard.

Although he may look like Superman – indeed his nickname is Superman -- at 6' 11", 265 pounds he has a Body Mass Index of 27 which according to standard BMI charts is considered overweight.

It’s even worse for poor Rob Gronkowski. At 6’ 6”, 265 pounds Gronk’s BMI is 30.6. Yet look at this photo of him. Despite being built like a Greek God, BMI charts say he is obese.

It’s just as bad on the other end of the scale. Boxer Manny Pacquiao (5’ 6.5”, 113) and actress Meghan Fox (5’ 6”, 114) are treated exactly the same and are both considered underweight. What’s going on here?

BMI is calculated using only two pieces of data, height and mass. It completely ignores body composition – the amount of muscle vs. fat in one’s body -- which is a much truer barometer of fitness. That’s why Dwight and Gronk are overweight and obese according to charts. Muscle mass means nothing to a BMI proponent. Even age and gender aren’t considered.

“BMI is not nearly as useful a statistic as body fat percentage and metabolic rate," says Bree Gotsdiner of Fatpacking, a backpacking weight-loss program. "You want to get fitter and build muscle, even if that means a higher BMI.”

Despite this, respected physicians and other medical professionals use this metric to label perfectly normal people as overweight or obese. Worse yet, corporate and public health care policy is beginning to be predicated upon BMI. And corporations are only too happy to jump on the BMI bandwagon to try to sell you their product du jour.

Steve Silberberg, also of Fatpacking adds, “Backpacking is great for fitness. While hiking, people get fit and alter their body composition. Meanwhile, their fat percentages are reduced and their fitness levels are increased, even though their BMIs may remain about the same or even increase."

To be sure, there are many people with a high body mass index who are indeed obese. But just about any pro athlete will also be classified as overweight. Most of us are somewhere in between. Many in the health and wellness industries have suggested that BMI should be abandoned as a measure of fitness especially as it relates to public or private health policy.

About Fatpacking

Fatpacking guides moderately overweight or somewhat older people on backpacking adventure vacations to get fit and lose weight. For more information about weight-loss oriented backpacking programs to various National Parks and National Forests, visit: http://www.fatpacking.com.

Steve Silberberg

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