New article on the utility of BMI as a health indicator

Two of my students and I just published a paper on the utility of body mass index (BMI) as an indicator of health.  There have been several critiques of BMI lately in the popular press that have suggested that alternative measures of body size are much better at predicting health status.  We decided to take a look at this and compared BMI to several alternative measures of body size as predictors of cholesterol, blood pressure and fasting glucose. We found that none of the alternative measures were consistently better than BMI.  So despite the recent criticism, it appears that BMI is a measure that we should be taken seriously as an indicator of obesity and obesity related health risks.

Steve Mooney wrote a nice companion piece for the 2×2 health blog and the article was featured in the NY Times Science Times


NIEHS Childhood Obesity Virtual Forum

A video feed from the NIEHS Virtual Forum: Childhood Obesity that I took part in has been posted to YouTube (embedded below). Questions for the discussion panel were sent into NIEHS by email, text and Twitter. The discussion covers a lot of topics related to obesity including, neighborhood built environments, chemical exposures and policy.

NIEHS’ description of the event:

Could early life chemical exposures explain the dramatic rise in obesity rates?

There are many theories on what is causing the huge increase in obesity in the U.S. and around the world. Certainly diet and lifestyle have something to do with it, but what about prenatal and early life chemical exposures?

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is pleased to announce a virtual forum on childhood obesity and possible links to environmental exposures. Whether you’re a concerned parent, advocate, community leader, or policy maker, you’ll want to tune in to hear the discussion and ask your questions about the latest research on obesity.  Our distinguished panel includes experts from: Johns Hopkins University, Kaiser Permanente, the University of Michigan, Columbia University, and the National Toxicology Program.

The Actual Event