Call for Kiwi-specific BMI scales
‘‘It's just one measure; it's like measuring poverty by just measuring income’’
An expert is calling for new BMI scales measuring weight, customised to each ethnic groups.
The health of ethnic minorities is being misclassified thanks to an indiscriminate global Body Mass Index (BMI) scale, said Scott Duncan, associate professor at AUT University.
Maori and Pacific island people were over-classified as overweight according to current BMI standards, said Duncan.
‘‘They’re heavier in general; they have more lean muscle mass, as well as having bigger frames. And the opposite goes for Asian and Indian populations, who tend to be underclassified as overweight.’’
He wants Kiwi-specific BMI scales, that adjusts for the different builds and body types of our highly diverse nation.
Duncan is the head of research of AUT’s school of sport and recreation, as well as an associate director at the university’s Human Potential Centre.
BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms, divided by their height squared in centimetres. Those with a high BMI are considered more overweight.
University of Auckland’s Susan Morton said BMI was quite a blunt instrument to measure health.
‘‘It’s just one measure; it’s like measuring poverty by just measuring income.’’