So I went to bed normal – and woke up overweight. Thanks science.

Most of the time I like scientists – they find things that might save our lives or make things better in other ways; they mean that pretty much every day I learn something I didn’t know which has got to be good for my brain and quite frankly, they keep the roof over my head as I get to write up their results in various magazines.

Today though a few docs at Oxford University are officially off my Christmas card list. Why is this? They have decided to recalculate BMI altering the way that height factors into the equation. According to mathematician Professor Nick Trefethen, this has been underestimated for some of us – and overestimated for others. His theory is that BMI has, up until now, ignored the fact that humans are three dimensional and not every part of us grows at the same rate as we grow taller – the result is that people over 5ft 7 probably have a healthier BMI with the new equation, and shortarses like me go up a point or two. See the more scientific explanation of all this here. 

Anyone who has an interest in weight probably knows the traditional formula for BMI – weight in kilos divided by your height in metres squared – but according to the team at Oxford, we might be better to use this formula

BMI = 1.3 multiplied by weight(kg) divided by height in metres^2.5.

Okay, I don’t actually know how to even start calculating that last bit – squared I’m fine with, but 2.5, how do you do that? Thankfully, one of the research assistants at Oxford has created a handy calculator to do it for you  – click here and you’ll save yourself hours of maths

Cut it all - I've got a BMI to adjust

Cut it all – I’ve got a BMI to adjust

The net result of this on my body is that I went to bed last night with a perfectly healthy BMI – and woke up this morning overweight – by 100g. That’s a chicken breast. How can I be classed as overweight by something served in a burger at KFC. Hmm, perhaps because I judge weight gain in measures of Fast Food? And yes, I know BMI is a flawed measure not taking muscle into account – but I’m not going into that argument here, I have a 100gm losing haircut to organise. I reckon if I go for a pixie crop that should sort me out.




  1. Judy Pavarini

    Helen! You are SO funny! Just started reading your blog and LOVE IT!

    1. healthehelen

      Yay, Judy’s here…..hope you’re feeling better. And wait till Tuesday’s post…..I’m hoping you’ll like it.

  2. Sally Brown

    Hilarious! And yes you are right- at 5’9″ I now have a lower BMI than I did yesterday. Makes up for the downsides of being tall (looking like a transvestite in high heels for instance)

  3. peonut

    Another great post Helen, good stuff! And your title made me snort/laugh out loud in the middle of the hostel lounge – so worth it!

    1. healthehelen

      Thanks all – I clipped nails and exfoliated yesterday. Reckon I’ve only got 70gm to go now….

      Reply this thing on? Talk to me, it's lonely down here

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