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- Durham, North Carolina
As others have mentioned, BMI is something of a blunt instrument when assessing fitness to dive. That said, the UKDMC guidelines linked by @-JD- above provide something of a rationale in that very high BMIs are strongly associated with morbid obesity and are frequently linked to other underlying health issues. The strains that are placed on the heart when diving are different than those on the surface, so a body system that's in something of an equilibrium on land may not be the same when diving. I would encourage you to continue your journey toward a healthier lifestyle.So I want to learn to dive recreationally and because I have a chronic medical condition, I had to get a doctor to sign me off. I checked the relevant boxes on the form and went for my medical a few days ago. The doctor was fine with my health condition and the medication I take (common mental health condition with no major meds, very stable, and a stable autoimmune condition). He asked me if I was active and I said that I was relatively active, I walk alot and I also swim. I wild swim in the sea and lakes, and also pool swim and while I don't have a specific distance in mind, I can do laps for an hour so I'm confident I could meet the swim requirement without difficulty. Checked my BP - normal. No diabetes, heart or lung problems at all. I'm age 30. He then did my height and weight. Because my BMI came out at >40, he then failed me.
Now I understand that my excess weight is a problem, I know it is. I want to lose weight and I am trying to, but I'm frustrated that I spent the money for a private medical only to be told that I can't dive because of something that wasn't on the form in the first place. If the front of the PADI form said to tick a box if your BMI was above a certain limit, and that was a fail, I would have been fine with that, worked on losing some weight and not wasted my money.
However if I didn't have the mental health issue I would never have needed the medical. I therefore can't see that I would have been stopped from diving unless my physical fitness was insufficient (and I assume at the dive centre they check fitness - of course if I didn't meet that then I can't dive and that's fine). If there's an absolute set in stone BMI cutoff then surely this should be on the front of the PADI form? It was only checked because my local dive shop (correctly of course) said I needed medical approval because of my medications for my autoimmune condition.
Perhaps I'm being unreasonable, I'm just very disappointed and I'm frustrated that I wasted my money and got so excited about something that I now can't take part in. I'll try and lose some weight and come back to it, but this was the perfect time in my life to do it because of the way my work is currently. I think this absolute BMI cutoff needs to be made more clear to stop other people from wasting their money on medicals like I did.
Is there anything I can do? Any recommendations for someone online who would consider my actual level of physical fitness rather than a number on a scale?