Is Your BMI A Good Measure Of Health?

Your BMI—body mass index—uses height and weight to measure the amount of body fat. However, it’s just an approximation and not meant to be the final verdict. It’s best for people that are new to exercise, since it doesn’t take into account the amount of muscle mass you have, your bone density or the overall composition of your body.

BMI uses a height to weight ratio.

If you weigh 150 pounds, you could be extremely fit and at your ideal weight, or you could be too thin or too heavy. It all depends on your height, body frame and gender. A woman that’s 4’10” would be overweight, while a male 6’4″ would be too thin. It’s used to avoid the need for charts. By calculating your BMI, the result is a universal number that can be used for anyone. If you have a BMI of 18.5 or lower you’re underweight. The factor of height and weight are already considered. Anyone with a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered at an ideal weight and higher is overweight. People with a BMI of 30 or higher are obese.

There are flaws in the use of BMI.

Your bone structure plays a role in how accurate your BMI will be. A larger bone structure could add a few pounds to your weight, so someone with a small bone structure should weigh less than someone with a large bone structure. Men weigh more than women. A muscular person will be thinner than someone with no muscle tissue, even if they’re the same height, weight, gender and bone structure.

BMI is a quick and helpful way for physicians to help identify potential health risks.

While BMI isn’t the most accurate weigh to identify whether you’re fit or not, it’s certainly a quick way. By simply looking at one number, the doctor gets an idea for the potential problems faced by the patient. For instance, breathing problems, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and sleep apnea are often problems faced by people with a higher BMI. While it’s a start, doctors also know it’s not the full answer.

Even though BMI is a start, there are other factors that play a huge role in predicting potential disease. Waist circumference, for instance, is an important indicator. Even if your BMI doesn’t indicate obesity, for men with a 40.2 inch waist or women with a 34.6 inch waist, the chance of diabetes is great.

  • BMI measurements are not only quicker, but also less costly as other techniques to find body mass, such as MRI scans or underwater weighing, which identify body density, volume and fat for a clearer picture.
  • Another new technique that’s just as simple is the RFM—relative fat mass index. It uses waist measurements to height. Women use 76 – (20 x height/waist circumference) and men use 64 – (20 x height/waist circumference).
  • Since a cubic inch of muscle weighs more than a cubic inch of fat, some of the fittest people will be classified as overweight or even obese if they’re super muscular. It’s one of the biggest flaws in BMI.

For more information, contact LIV Fitness

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