14 out of 15 Springboks are fat

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) these are the body mass index (BMI) categories for your average adult human:

  • Underweight: < 18.5
  • Normal: 18.5 – 24.9
  • Overweight: 25 – 29.9
  • Obese: > 30

It’s a personal bugbear of mine that for all my adult life I have been labelled Obese by personal trainers and even medical professionals who can just about manage to plug weight(kg) / height(m)2 into their pocket-sized calculators.

So I set out to make myself feel better by calculating the current Springbok side’s BMIs.


Name Stats BMI Classification
Willie le Roux 186cm, 90kg 26 FAT
Bryan Habana 180cm, 94kg 29 FAT
JJ Engelbrecht 190cm, 94kg 26 FAT
Jean de Villiers 190cm, 100kg 27.7 FAT
Bjorn Basson 185cm, 84kg 24.5 NORMAL
Morne Steyn 184cm, 91kg 26.9 FAT
Ruan Pienaar 187cm, 92kg 26.3 FAT
Pierre Spies 194cm, 108kg 28.7 FAT
Willem Alberts 192cm, 120kg 32.6 ORCA FAT
Francois Louw 190cm 114kg 31.6 ORCA FAT
Flip van der Merwe 198cm, 120kg 30.6 ORCA FAT
Eben Etzebeth 203cm, 117kg 28.4 FAT
Jannie du Plessis 188cm, 120kg 34 ORCA FAT
Adriaan Strauss 184cm, 111kg 32.8 ORCA FAT
Tendai Mtawarira 188cm, 120kg 34 ORCA FAT

As we can see, the forwards are still the fatties, but BMI says so are the backs. Except skinny Basson who has the unfortunate honour of being labelled Normal.

So take BMI with a pinch of salt (but not too much, because half of medical professionals think salt is bad) and focus on living a healthy, active lifestyle with no calculators.

Disclaimer: Andrew knows BMI is a simple index and doesn’t really apply to certain extreme body types (very short, very tall, very muscular, very etc). But Andrew thinks that for precisely this reason (too many exceptions) BMI should not be considered a standard indicator and personal trainers in particular should have their calculators confiscated. Andrew also acknowledges he could lose a bit of weight.


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