Well, this dragon is rearing her massive head again. I’ve not had anything pressing to talk about… anything Positive anyway. This blog started to become a complaint center and I wanted to veer off from that. I also had/have a massive case of writer’s block ever. Maybe it’s my life just overwhelming me again, but here I am…. AND I do have something I must talk about. I must work something out for myself and I need to write it down.
It all started with an article in our local paper about how it’s mandated that the BMI (Body Mass Index) number be included in our EHRs (Electronic Health Records). Now, I’m well aware that ANYONE who bothers to do the calculation will have access to it; but I’m very disturbed that it’s now a law. I can see this being used for other than strictly health reasons. I see the government allowing it to be used by insurance companies to refuse me life insurance, raise my health insurance premium, and whatever other use they come up with. High Tech Discrimination. Freedom at a minimum. I definitely don’t see a positive for the individual to whom this BMI number belongs to. For one thing the number is not fully accurate as being representative of your health. The current way they calculate this number comes from your height and weight and not your natural body type. (Of course I forgot the actual term for that) According to “the” calculation, my spouse is considered to be overweight…. laughable! Unfortunately, he just happens to be tall, sorry skinny, but tall Drake.
I went over to Wikipedia. Check out what the Body Mass Index number was originally intended for and what it’s being used for now. It shows how individuals who are taller have a reported BMI that is uncharacteristically high compared to their actual body fat levels. I urge you to read this Wiki article and pay close attention to “Usage” and “Limitations and Shortcomings”.
- It was originally meant to be used as a simple means of classifying sedentary (physically inactive) individuals with an average body composition.
- It allowed health professionals to discuss over- and under-weight problems more objectively with their patients.
The BMI cannot be used the same way across the board for everyone. It’s used differently for children. Athletes have a higher muscle mass so they need a different calculation altogether to access their fatness. Another complication is the loss of height through aging. There are all sorts of physical characteristics not taken into consideration and have a definite affect on this god-awful number which will become the thunderbolt of Zeus. Again, I do urge you to do a little reading on the subject. Don’t feel like it? Don’t think it’s a big deal? I can understand that because even I didn’t feel like it was necessary. We come to accept what’s handed down to us. I’m sure that people who are healthy, fit and thin have come to understand what this number is supposed to mean to them and have accepted it, without question. It’s a known, a given factor, something that we use as a guide post to let us know when our bodies reach “acceptability”. “Do my pants look good on me now, dear?” Look, seriously, there’s nothing wrong with an individual setting their own standards. It’s their choice; but when that standard is forced upon all of us, I think we should be asking some questions… and getting some answers.
So, this prefaces some other stuff I’ll be writing about…. Have you guessed it? Yes, I’m overweight and according to the BMI, I am obese, class I. Ah, so NOW we know why she is talking out of her head! Well, aside from my opposition to this whole BMI thing, another dragon has reared it’s head and it’s not going to shut up until I make a decision. This is where ya’ll come in. I’ll be discussing this issue here. Writing has always been a good outlet for my thoughts and I’m hoping it will allow me to sort everything out to a satisfying result.
I’ve been asked to provide the link to the articles connecting the BMI to the law. I apologize for not including it. My original intention was to include it, but in my haste to publish, I neglected to link. Thanks, Karen….
This article gives links to actual text of the law. Hmmm 906 pages of something that is supposed to make our lives simpler. That reporter could not find anything more than a vague reference to the BMI in the actual Bill, but found it elsewhere. Below is a quoted paragraph from his article (and the link)
At this point, I was ready to declare the mandatory BMI screening a hoax. Just before I published this article however, someone pointed me in the direction of a document called HIT (Health Information Technology) Standards 170.302. This document purports to show Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ new certification standards for electronic health records (EHRs).
Here is another article I read in the Wall Street Journal that draws a correlation between this new federal mandate and what they did to healthcare with the Massachusetts universal coverage plan.