BMI is BS (and why I still use it)

BMI, or body mass index, is a common formula in healthcare that uses a person’s height and weight, and assigns them a number based on these measurements.

It is used in so many places, including doctor’s offices, schools, and many other medical settings- even though weight stigma has been shown to make healthcare worse.

There are some excellent sources that discuss the history of the BMI, including this Maintenance Phase podcast episode.

I am not a fan of the BMI: having strict categories can lead to judgment and shame, which does not help the healing process.

There is one reason why I still use BMI at Feel Good Flavors, and that is for insurance purposes.

Do I agree with using the BMI? No.

Do I want you to have access to nutrition sessions and have insurance cover your care? Hell yes.

There are some insurance companies that do not cover eating disorders or general nutrition care, but will cover BMI codes. If a client needs to have a BMI code submitted in order to have access to adequate care, I’m going to do it.

We have to make things work in the system we live in, and while I don’t love calculating BMI – I love that many of my clients have coverage for their nutrition sessions for free or very low cost out of pocket.

We are in network with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Anthem, Aetna, Cigna, and United Healthcare, and will advocate for your right to access affordable care with a dietitian!