BMI is not everything

  • By Team TDO

The body mass index (BMI) is a measurement of body fat according to person's weight and height. It is also called as Quetelet index. It is an easy and most widely used diagnostic tool to find out if a person is underweight, overweight or obese. BMI calculation is independent of age. Normal recommendations are not applicable to pregnant women.

People who are stout, have a body mass index falling in the overweight category, but the fact is that their weight is due to muscle mass and a heavy bone structure and not due to fat.

The health risks associated with increasing BMI are continuous and the interpretation of BMI grading in relation to risk may differ for different people.

BMI below 18.5 is categorized as underweight, 18.5 to 24.9 is normal, 25 to 29.9 is overweight, and 30 & above is said to be obese.

BMI can be used to monitor health status, but it has its limitations. BMI is the measurement of total body weight of a person. It does not calculate fat percentage. People who are stout, have a body mass index falling in the overweight category, but the fact is that their weight is due to muscle mass and a heavy bone structure and not due to fat. For example, athletes and weight lifters have a BMI falling in overweight category, but they are not really overweight.

On the other hand, some athletes will be underweight according to their BMI (such as long distance runners). This is due to low body fat due to the type of sports they play.

Thin-framed people can have inaccurate BMI categorizing them as underweight. Old people may also appear to be underweight due to loss of muscle mass in old age.

BMI within normal range is not necessarily an indicator of perfect health. Exercise and healthy eating is a must. Body shape is equally important in addition to weight. High waist circumference even with normal body mass index is worrisome.

Here is the formula for calculating BMI:

BMI = Weight(kg) / Height X Height (meter square)

Know your BMI, achieve your target weight, but remember BMI does not solely give you any idea of physical fitness and it is important to eat healthy, exercise, and follow good habits like avoiding smoking and not drinking.

 


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