I’m Overweight

It’s true. I am overweight. Half way to obese.

According to my BMI (Body Mass Index), that is, which is 27.

After 18 years of going without, I decided – for a little protection/security – to buy myself some health insurance.

I found a reasonable plan offered in California and went through the application process. Part of that process included a physical exam where blood was drawn and my weight and height were measured, therefore gaining the ability to calculate my BMI (weight over height squared x 703 (for us Americans not using the metric system)). After standing on a scale the nurse reported, “You weigh 188 pounds.” Add to that my towering (exactly average) five-foot ten-inch frame and there you go… a BMI of 27.

Well, BMI can give you a general indication of someone’s body fat (even though it doesn’t actually measure the percentage of body fat itself), but if you work out a lot, lift weights or have a large frame, well, the BMI is no longer a reliable indicator of body fatness much less a good indicator for one’s medical diagnosis. For example, British rowing champion and double Olympic gold medalist, James Cracknell and I both have the same BMI and let me tell you… if an athlete like Mr. Cracknell is overweight (see photo) what does that mean for the rest of us?

For the last handful of months, I’ve been working out an average of 6 days a week for two hours per day (which includes cardio and weight training), and I’m happy to report that because of my active lifestyle I’ve dropped a fair amount of fat while at the same time gained some decent muscle mass.

Well, BAD IDEA, Lyon! Now, because my higher BMI, I am on a restricted (read: more expensive with less benefits) plan with the insurance company. What’s wrong with this picture, Latte?!

What’s my recourse? This cookie cutter procedure to determine the liability of a person is so… so… (fill in word of your choice).

Perhaps I should eat my way to my BMI – get my money’s worth on this insurance policy. Good idea?

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

I am, after all, new to this insurance thing.

Signing off,

Your overweight Lyon

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4 thoughts on “I’m Overweight

  1. That is ridiculous! There has to be a way you can appeal or fight back. You are not the first person whose calculated BMI gives an inaccurate representation of their actual health and habits. Not will you be the last. I hope for the sake of my faith in humanity that there is a recourse available to fix this.

  2. You should be able to have the doctor estimate your actual percentage body fat and appeal based on that. It will be a pain, but better than leaving it that way.

  3. You are so NOT overweight, Mr. Lyon! There are other, more accurate, tests for BMI. I’ve heard the best is one in which you’re immersed in water. Loyola Marymount University’s Health and Human Sciences Department has a Human Performance Lab that you might consider checking out. They can perform a BMI test. There services are open to local community members. The lab’s website is: http://cse.lmu.edu/programs/healthandhumanscienceshumanperformancelab/

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