opinion

The Failure of BMI as a Medical Metric

Aug 19, 2015

standard Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator puts LeBron James (6’8”, 250lbs) as close to being “obese" as he is to being “normal” weight. The use of BMI has also kept individuals known to have bulimia or anorexia nervosa from getting treatment because their BMI isn’t low enough.

These two examples demonstrate that BMI has limited value for determining a “healthy” weight. And I’m not the first to point this outNotEvenClose. But that’s not the end of the story. What, sense should we make of studies showing an increased risk of death for BMI-overweight individuals?  Obviously, we have to take seriously any robustly demonstrated correlation. So we should take these studies at face value and, when feasible, decrease our risk by aiming to lower our BMI. 

Courtesy / Andrew Downs

The first presidential debate is scheduled for Aug. 6th on Fox News.  This might seem ridiculous given that the presidential election is 16 months away (for those planning ahead: it's Nov. 8, 2016). But keep two things in mind.

William S.E. “Doc" Coleman and Getting Paid to Talk

Jul 15, 2015
Courtesy / Abraham Schwab

William S.E. “Doc” Coleman was a dynamic fixture. I did not know him particularly well, and leave the romantic remembrances of his long and illustrious life to others to mark and celebrate.

But I did know him a little. He did his best to direct me in my middling efforts as an actor at Drake University in the mid-1990s. His laugh and his knowing looks are easily remembered. But what strikes me most about his passing on July 8th is how different it was than it might have been even 10 or 15 years ago.

Is Pence’s Reelection Bid in Trouble?

Jul 1, 2015
Courtesy / Andrew Downs

In June, Bellwether Research and Consulting released a poll examining Hoosiers' views of Gov. Mike Pence and some of his possible opponents in 2016.  The immediate reaction was that the reelection bid by Indiana Governor Mike Pence was in trouble. 

There were reasons to think this:

Courtesy / Abe Schwab

It turns out that 7 out of 10 surveyed individuals in the U.S. are unaware of the Supreme Court case (and eminent ruling on) King v. Burwell.

Measuring Success in Policy Not as Easy as it Seems

Jun 11, 2015
Courtesy / Andrew Downs

The Indiana General Assembly completed its work right at the mandated deadline of April 29th and most of the legislation that was passed will go into effect on July 1st.  While people might think of the legislative process as being over at this point, the public policy process is not.  An often forgotten part of the process is determining whether or not a policy has worked.

Courtesy / Abraham Schwab

A lot has been made recently of the HIV cases in southeastern Indiana. Governor Mike Pence responded to the crisis by allowing the use of a needle exchange program in that part of Indiana. He then extended the needle exchange program because it appeared to be working.

Courtesy / Andrew Downs

The Indiana General Assembly is required to complete its work no later than April 29th in the years when they pass a two-year budget.  It is quite common for them to work right up to that deadline like they did this year. 

As this session ended, people began talking about how memorable this session was.  They certainly have some notable legislation and events to point to when they are making their case. 

The Importance, and Limits, of Advanced Care Planning

Apr 16, 2015
Courtesy / Abraham Schwab

As many of you may know, Diane Rehm recently agreed to limit her participation with Compassion and Choices. Her involvement with the group became more publicly known in February, but her dissatisfaction with our current end-of-life choices was catalyzed by her husband’s passing on June 23, 2014.

Courtesy / Andrew Downs

On March 23rd, the Committee on Elections in the Indiana Senate voted 6-0 to send House Bill 1236 to the full Senate for consideration.  Back on January 27th, HB 1236 cleared the Indiana House of Representatives on a vote of 70 to 28.  These are indicators that this bill will become a law. 

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