Today I visited my new GP, after discovering a mole that seemed itchy on my back (I'm very moley). I entered the room, happy to find a young female doctor sat waiting for me. She checked my shoulders, and said she couldn't see anything that seemed off, so I said thank you and started getting my stuff. It'd taken all of a minute.
She said that as I was there, I could just complete some data about me. She asked if I smoked, to which I said no, never. She asked if I drank, and I explained usually once, every one or two weeks. All good there.
She then said they didn't have a weight for me, so could she weigh me. I stepped on the scales, and then removed my shoes to have my height measured. I apologised for the big hair.
As she entered the data into her system, she mumbled my weight and height, and then my BMI (27 I think?), and she said that I would have to lose a stone if I wanted to be in the healthy bracket, "...if I cared about things like that".
Firstly, for an exchange that lasted two minutes, half of which were spent looking at moles, I don't see how telling me my BMI, and that I needed to lose a stone to be a healthy weight is useful or warranted.
I include my photo from today, but sort of know it is irrelevant at the same time. Say I was carrying more weight than I am; say that the amount could be a potential warning for health issues....I'd obviously know that. Who on earth doesn't know that excess weight can carry health concerns? Does telling me my BMI magically make me aware of that fact? But I include the pic to also show that I honestly don't believe the weight I carry is what my doctor should be concerning herself with, in a short appointment.
She doesn't know if I've had eating disorders, or if my weight has fluctuated massively recently. She didn't know if her super fast comment/advice would send me into an eating binge or self harm hole (it didn't....but still).
If she's telling me I'm carrying extra weight to try and keep me healthy, shouldn't she have asked about things that relate to my health? Do I exercise (Yes, 3 times a week, I run and lift weights), and how is my diet (generally pretty healthy, with fruit and vegetables heavily featured). Or how about whether my bowel movements are regular, or what my periods are like, or whether I check for breast lumps regularly.
I've read some things online about why the NHS still use BMI in this way, and it all seems to say stuff like, "It's a useful tool to use to judge when people are overweight, because being overweight generally comes with health concerns." When arguments are made about it's pointlessness (particularly in reference to muscle-heavy athletes), they just shrug and say most people aren't athletes. That BMI is relevant to most people.
I've yet to work out why we/they need a scale like BMI at all, to work out if someone is overweight (and therefore worthy of being concerned about their health and potential issues they may face - which is a whole other debate). Surely doctors can just tell by looking at us? I just can't work out why GPs are still chucking our BMIs in our faces constantly? What do they even imagine it does?
Don't get me wrong, this rant isn't about my weight at all. It's about the fact that in a two minute appointment, my GP randomly told me my BMI, and what I'd have to do to be in the healthy BMI range. Who is telling her to do this? Why do they think it is a valid thing to say?
I am fully aware that people who carry more weight than me, deal with this nonsense with almost every medical professional that they meet. That it is common for every ailment they bring to a doctor ends with a discussion about their weight, and the apparent revelation that they are deemed obese. I am sharing my experience as it angered me, but I aware that for many people this is a constant, and even more stupid issue than my two minutes with my GP.
Chucking someone's BMI at them is at best pointless and silly, and at worst harmful and damaging.