An active PE teacher was surprised to find he was prevented from giving bone marrow because his body mass index (BMI) is too high – despite a shortage of donors.
Carl Zaffino, 38, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, says he was rejected as a donor because his BMI of 36.19 makes him technically obese.
But Mr Zaffino says the reading – based on his 5ft 10in frame and 18 stone weight – is down to his muscular physique built through his sporting lifestyle.
He thinks the National Blood Service, which runs the British Bone Marrow Register (BBMR), is too arbitrary when it rejects donors with a BMI higher than 35.
Dr Derwood Pamphilon, medical director of the BBMR, said there had to be a balance between finding potential donors and the risks to that donor’s health during the donation process, which are increased with factors like obesity.
But the service stressed people with a BMI higher than 35 can join the register because it can take many years before a potential match crops up and a person’s size can change in that time.
A National Blood Service spokeswoman said it was reviewing its promotional literature and taking steps to ensure the BMI guidelines are made clear when donors are considering joining the BBMR.
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