Monday, July 19, 2010

What's the Government's BMI? - Obesity Rating for Every American Must Be Included in Stimulus-Mandated Electronic Health Records, Says HHS

The chubby hands of big government are reaching too far, in my opinion. According to the above CNS article, one piece of information the government will be recording on our new electronic health records is our BMI. This story went largely uncovered, which is troublesome. Have we become too used to government intervention into our lives we don't even bat an eyelash when it pokes it's nose further into our business? HHS readily admits the information will be "used" to determine patients' risk for weight related health problems. This is a twisted road we are on. What may be used to provide appropriate healthcare at one turn, may be used to ration or deny healthcare at a later turn.

Meet my eldest son, he is 15 and has a BMI of 22. A year ago his BMI was 24, which for his age, height, and weight, was considered to be in the overweight category. He is not what one would call a rail by any means, but the boy doesn't have an ounce of fat on him. He is muscular and athletic in build, but because some illogical number is applied to him, he was lectured about his eating habits and proper nutrition by the base pediatrician at his last physical. So what was the difference between one year's BMI and the next? It wasn't a drastic change in his eating. The boy grew 8 inches.

BMI is a ridiculously arbitrary number. Unlike our eye color, blood type, and birthdate, BMI is medical information that can and will fluctuate, sometimes quite wildly. It has no business being on our permanent electronic medical records and the government has no business telling me or my son what his BMI is or should be.
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Teresa said...

The problem with BMI is that it makes no distinction between muscle and fat and also fails to differentiate between different frames. So anyone who is a little out of the ordinary (whether that be because they are muscular or naturally skinny) gets an unhealthy rating.

Tonya said...

There is a girl here who can't get health insurance because she doesn't weigh enough. Guess her bmi is too low? I wish we could just go to a cash paying system - you pay the dr out of your own pocket. Way too simple I guess.

Sarah Oldham said...

I agree w/ what Tonya said. For starters, folks would start to triage carefully before coming to the ER and making unnecessary appointments. I also think pharmacies should be allowed to dispense medicine as in the olden days a la my Grandfather's time. Maybe. I hate that 'cos I am 30 pounds over what I ought to be that I'm considered obese. That is silly! Besides, it think it is visually obvious to a doctor when their patient has a weight issue. And, weight issues have so many underlying issues as well.

This gov't is getting too big for it's britches.