30 or more. However, that has been proven to be highly inaccurate.
A 2003 study found that higher BMIs are not unhealthy for Black people, and Black women, in particular, do not see an increased mortality risk until they reach a BMI of 37.
Despite this, doctors still diagnose Black patients that have higher BMIs with obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. These patients are unfairly stigmatized for being “overweight.”
Health and body size aren’t always connected
The reality is health and body size aren’t always connected. This is a stigma Latifah has been trying to break for years. “We need to change the conversation. We need to change the culture, we need to change the stigma that’s involved in it,” Latifah told PEOPLE in May. “Let’s just get real with it. And then let’s back it up with some information that can empower you to do something about it, or change your mentality about it.”
One way the “Equalizer” actress has learned to change her mentality is through the power of saying no.
“I practice my no’s,” she says. “I go in the mirror and I say, no, no, no, no, like 20 times. And that’s it. I need to be okay with me. If I’m okay, then I feel like I can do anything. But if I’m not okay, I have to say something. Like, it’s time to take a break, stop, cut.”
As for those looking for an alternative to the problematic BMI chart?
Feller recommends looking at your health as a whole. She says a variety of factors beyond weight should be looked at by doctors and other health professionals.
“How’s your blood pressure? How’s your blood sugar? How are your lipids? We need to change the conversation to really be talking about metabolic health,” she adds.