For more than a century, we have relied on a simplistic measure to determine if someone is a “healthy” weight or not. This is the body mass index (BMI) — the ratio of a person’s weight to the square of their height. The limits of this ratio are clearly demonstrated by professional rugby players, most of whom would be classified as “overweight” despite having less than 10% body fat. Studies have also shown that not all obese people develop health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease. This “fat but fit” cohort seems to be protected somehow. On the flip side, people with a “normal” BMI are not immune from getting diabetes or heart disease. Most preventive medicine and health advice is based on BMI cutoffs. But these cutoffs can be falsely reassuring, especially for those who are TOFI (Thin on the Outside, Fat on the Inside) — people who have large amounts of fat around their organs. Finding out who, in the general population, is TOFI and who isn’t would be prohibitively expensi...

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