Three months after the birth of baby, Jameson, mum-of-two Pink is hitting the gym again. In between squats and burpees, she’s busting out a big thumbs-down at the standard assessment of weight vs height and how it makes women feel.
Pink’s flagging the fact that the often trotted-out Body Mass Index (BMI) assessment might not be particulary accurate, healthy or motivating for women, especially postpartum.
She’s hoping we’ll avoid the scales (and BMI) altogether, and concentrate on body acceptance, building strength and feeling good, instead.
The singer took to Instagram to discuss issues of weight and happiness, posting an image of herself in workout mode, possibly in her family’s home gym. Alongside the shot she shared some details about her height and weight – and revealed the category a traditional BMI assessment would file her body type in. Obese.
“Would you believe I’m 160 pounds and 5’3”? By ‘regular standards’ that makes me obese. I know I’m not at my goal or anywhere near it after Baby 2 but dammit I don’t feel obese,” the singer wrote.
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Would you believe I'm 160 pounds and 5'3"? By 'regular standards' that makes me obese. I know I'm not at my goal or anywhere near it after Baby 2 but dammit I don't feel obese. The only thing I'm feeling is myself. Stay off that scale ladies! #feelingmyself #strongismygoal #bodygoals @msjeanettejenkins #happysaturday #getitin #GIJaneismyWCW
“I’m feeling myself”
Keen to stress that a standardised formula which reduces our weight and height to a harrowingly negative term can never be a good thing, the famous mum-of-two has a much better idea. She hopes women will turn their back on the scales, and these kinds of counterproductive assessments, and focus on loving the bodies they’re in and gaining strength instead.
“The only thing I’m feeling is myself. Stay off that scale ladies! #feelingmyself #strongismygoal #bodygoals” Pink wrote.
Like-minded commenters chimed in, nodding and sharing their own stories.
“You look great. The definition for obese makes women feel depressed. Just be you,” one woman wrote.
“I’m obese at 5’8″ 170 with an obese BMI but been bodybuilding for over a year with curves and muscles for days! You’re fantastic!,” another posted.
“Muscle weight. I always go on how I feel. Never owned a scale,” one woman agreed.
Her followers are totally onto the problems with BMI and the labelling of obesity.
Obesity and BMI
Pink is right. There are all kinds of problems associated with using BMI to assess obesity and overall health, the experts say.
NPR published a list of reasons why BMI is flawed, including the fact that BMI was speedily thunk up by a 19th century mathematician who was charged with helping the government of the day distribute resourcing. It’s non-scientific, features a nonsensical calculation, does not allow for the relative distribution of bone, fat and muscle within the body and categorises people’s body types in ways that are inaccurate.
In 2014 the ABC reported that the flawed BMI formula “cannot distinguish fat from muscle. Individuals who have a lot of muscle may find themselves being described as unhealthy when in fact the opposite is true.” They also noted that the older we get the less helpful BMI measurements may be as we lose muscle and gain fat. Our BMI goes down because muscle is heavier than fat, but obviously we’re not getting any healthier!
What a waist!
It’s now thought that waist circumference is a better indicator of overall health and weight than BMI.
A measurement of “94 centimetres in men and 80 centimetres in women puts them at increased risk of chronic disease, while men over 102 centimetres and women over 88 centimetres had a greatly increased risk,” the ABC reports.
It’s clear that there are lots of factors that accurately assess our health, and Pink’s advice about avoiding the scales – and relying solely on BMI assessments – are totally spot on.
Go for a broader picture and more varied personal data when it comes to health assessments. And take a leaf out of Pink’s book and remember to love and “feel yourself!”