The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple measure, based on height and weight, commonly used to determine if someone is overweight. When policy makers and public health officials talk about the obesity crisis in America, they’re usually referring to BMI data, which, when considering the host of variables that should be taken into account when determining the health consequences of weight (i.e., muscle weight), emerge as overly simplistic. In The Diet Myth, writer Paul Campos offers a few examples of "fat" celebrities, according to BMI definitions (over 25 = overweight, over 30 = obese). Coming in as overweight are: Brad Pitt, Michael Jordan, and Mel Gibson. Obese celebrities include: Russell Crowe, George Clooney, and Sammy Sosa.
Campos goes on to say that current BMI definitions are not intended “to apply to people in ‘good shape.’” However, since one of the primary goals of public health initiatives (and the weight-loss industry) is exactly that, for people to be in “good shape,” then why wouldn’t current BMI criteria apply to them?