Jan 11, 2019

Body Mass Index (BMI) Origin

Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet (pronounced Ket-eh-lay) was born into a middle-class family on February 22, 1796. He was a mathematician, astronomer, statistician, poet, dramatist, and one of the founders of sociology. Quetelet believed society could be analyzed without bias using statistics. He described this new academic field as social physics, believing it would reveal important patterns in human society. In 1832, Quetelet discovered in his mountains of data a relationship between height and weight in adults. “The weights of individuals of different height are nearly like the square of their height.” In 1972, the American physiologist Ancel Keys formed the view that the Quetelet Index was the best way to identify obese individuals and gave it a new name – the body mass index.

In 1985, the U.S. National Institutes of Health adopted the body mass index or BMI as a means of identifying underweight and overweight individuals. He died age 77 on February 17, 1874.

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