Intended for healthcare professionals


Stop using body mass index as measure of health, say MPs

BMJ 2021; 373 doi: (Published 09 April 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n941
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

The UK government’s approach to eating disorders and poor body image is “potentially harmful” and “triggering” for the people it is meant to help, MPs have said.1

MPs on the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee have called on the government to urgently order an independent review of its obesity strategy to ensure that it is evidence based.

They also said that body mass index (BMI)—originally introduced to measure entire populations—should no longer be used to determine whether an individual person’s weight is healthy. Calories on menus should also be scrapped, they advised, and the use of altered images in commercial advertising and promotion should be more strictly controlled.

The government’s obesity strategy published in July 2020 included measures such as …

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