The widespread use of body mass index to assess whether a patient is at a healthy weight has long been criticized for failing to take into account other health-related factors.
But now, the American Medical Association is injecting social justice politics into the issue by claiming that BMI has been particularly detrimental to minority communities. In a report issued last week, the national organization noted that “BMI is an imperfect measure because it does not directly assess body fat.”
While that might seem to be a shortcoming that would impact all humans, the AMA went on to insist that it is actually used as a form of “racist exclusion.”
AMA asks doctors to de-emphasize use of #BMI in gauging health and obesity. The AMA, one of the largest medical groups in the U.S., voted to adopt this policy during its current annual meeting. https://t.co/5Dqy0xVvAU
— Ian Weissman, DO (@DrIanWeissman) June 14, 2023
Left-leaning sources including the website Quartz have made similar accusations in the past.
That outlet claimed that BMI is “inherently racist and sexist,” citing the claim that “when Belgian mathematician Adolphe Quetelet developed the index in the 1830s, he did so using data from European white men.”
Railing against the supposed bigotry of BMI was not the only controversial take the AMA unveiled last week. Two days earlier, the agency reiterated its dedication to providing easy access to irreversible forms of so-called “gender-affirming care” for patients despite the rising number of people who later come to regret their medical and/or chemical transitions.
As many Republican-led states pass restrictions on such procedures, particularly when performed on children, the AMA used its considerable influence to denounce these laws.
A resolution passed by the association’s House of Delegates asserted that “the AMA is committed to opposing any criminal and legal penalties against patients seeking gender-affirming care, family members or guardians who support them in seeking medical care, and health care facilities and clinicians who provide gender-affirming care.”
The organization, which has spent $462 million on lobbying since 1998, vowed to “work at the federal and state level with legislators and regulators to oppose such policies and collaborate with other organizations to educate the Federation of State Medical Boards about the importance of gender-affirming care.”
The AMA did include one statement that critics of gender ideology would consider somewhat more rational than the positions of far-left activists, noting that “medical intervention is reserved for older adolescents and adults” and that various medical entities “also agree on waiting until an individual has turned 18 or reached the age of majority in their country to undergo gender-affirming genital surgery.”