Friday, August 20, 2010

Studies Indicate Body Mass Index of 23 is Optimal

We've all heard that excess weight shortens human lifespan. Medical researchers have now announced statistical evidence that Body Mass Index or BMI numbers of 23 and 24 are optimal for good health. Among the 900,000 men and women in a study, mortality was lowest in that narrow range, according to an interesting  press release from the British Medical Research Council.

Here is a BMI table of heights and weights:

In the study, moderately obese individuals (BMI 30-35) had lifespans reduced by 3 years. Worse, severely obese  individuals (BMI 40-50) had lifespans reduced by 10 years, similar to the effect of lifelong smoking. There was also a higher death rate among those who had a BMI well below 23-24, where more information would be helpful.

Obesity is a serious public health problem with increasingly global consequences. Do you know what your BMI is today?

The China Study by Colin Campbell draws very interesting conclusions as far as the virtues of recommending a plant-based diet for optimum nutritional and health benefits are concerned. Thousands of studies indicate it's the best way to head off heart disease and strokes, all kinds of cancers and autoimmune diseases.

In my early twenties, I worked in the office of venerable former Head of the British Medical Research Council in Oxford, Sir Richard Doll, when he was Warden of Green College, now Green Templeton College, Oxford. He now has a building named after him, and I also met Sir Richard Peto mentioned in this release many times. In fact, I may have met Colin Campbell, too, which is why I trust this work. Incidentally, another very nice nutritionist, Barbara Rolls, who eventually created the Volumetrics Diet was an acquaintance at Green College, too.

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