We knew there was something suspect about that story problem asking us how many coffees Chandler could drink in an hour if it took Gunther 20 seconds to make them and he delivered them while walking a distance of 32 feet at an average pace of 1.7 steps per second. We mean, they didn't even give us stride length, much less cool-down time. Fuck the SAT.
Go hit up the gym. While you're standing there in the doorway, trying to catch your breath after heroically struggling the front door open, you will be approached by an eager, lean-framed young man named Thad. He will tell you he is a personal trainer and that he is only as effective as you are motivated, and then he will bust out the body mass index (BMI for short), to point out that most of you is sharp cheddar and fried bread. The BMI is a handy measure of relative weight that can be presented in an easy-to-read chart form, and it's considered a fair and accurate way of determining whether you are a human being or nothing more than the pilot of a wobbling fat-ship.
It's also wildly outdated and hilariously inaccurate.
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"Your draft classification is F-A. In time of war, you're an aircraft carrier."
A 5-foot-7-inch dude is overweight if he weighs, like, 155 pounds? OK, sure. But what if that person happens to be naturally stocky, or a well-honed bodybuilder the width of a barn door with barely any fat on his body? What if he's undergone a surgery to graft unbreakable metal to his bones? Too bad, Wolverine; our handy chart here says you're technically a walking cheesesteak.
When taken as what it was intended to be -- a general set of data describing the relative fitness of an entire population -- the BMI is mostly fine. It's certainly due for a revamp, considering that it was devised by a Belgian mathematician (read: not physician) nearly 200 goddamn years ago, but it may still be helpful in certain contexts. The problem is that we do not use the BMI in that capacity. We use it like it's an individual scale, even though it allows no adjustment for individuality.