When your height and weight are taken, a BMI chart is nearly always posted to the wall of your doctor's office, allowing you to see where you fall within the BMI's definition of obesity. The fun stuff, yes? Let's first take a brief look at what BMI is and why it was created before getting into whether or not it is beneficial for forecasting your health.
BMI: What Is It?
Body Mass Index, often known as BMI, is used to determine your weight-to-height ratio. BMI, which was created by Belgian mathematician Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet in the 1800s, is still frequently used by many medical professionals to assess a patient's state of health.
Even though BMI has some drawbacks of its own, it can help people understand their bodies and the dangers involved in contracting various diseases. Your category and potential higher risk for acquiring certain health disorders, such as diabetes and heart disease, may be determined by your doctor using these measurements and results.
What's The Definition Of A Normal BMI?
The range of a normal BMI is 18.5 to 24.9. Your chance of developing issues and diseases linked to obesity, such as arthritis, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, liver disease, and diabetes, increases with your BMI.
Obese people are more likely to acquire cardiovascular disease and diabetes than normal people. Although not everyone with a high BMI will develop these illnesses, the percentage of obese persons who do is larger than that of normal weight and overweight people.
Is The BMI Index Inaccurate?
The main issue with using BMI as a stand-in for body fat and health is that it ignores weight associated with muscle mass. In actuality, it doesn't take into consideration the weight of any tissue, not even fat, bone, or muscle. Since athletes typically carry far more lean body mass and less fat than their sedentary peers, this is especially troublesome for them. Due to their higher BMIs, athletes are frequently mislabeled as overweight and obese.
A person's general health indicators will improve as a result of any physical activity that makes them more athletic, fit, and in possession of higher amounts of lean body mass. An active lifestyle and higher levels of lean body mass relative to body fat are all linked to cardiovascular improvements, decreased inflammatory markers, and improved insulin sensitivity.
Therefore, measuring BMI to determine someone's health is useless if they are physically active and have an above-average amount of lean body mass!
Are Individuals With High BMI Scores Not Healthy?
It's not always possible to determine a person's health or insufficiency from their BMI. Even though it's likely that someone with a morbidly obese BMI (imagine a BMI over 40) won't be as healthy as someone with a BMI under 25, moderately high BMI levels might be a different story.
It's best to avoid being overly concerned with your BMI if you lead an active lifestyle that includes recreational activities like lifting weights, playing sports, or anything else that gets your body moving and overcoming external forces in a way that encourages the growth of additional lean body mass.
Your blood work's measurements of your resting heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, hormone levels, and markers of liver and kidney function will give a much more truthful and accurate story about your health. If you haven't already, chuck whatever BMI-related worries you may have had to the side with the other useless measures.
Body mass index is a quick and simple health assessment tool to pinpoint areas where disease risk is greatest. Due to the fact that it doesn't take a person's age, sex, body fat percentage, or body shape into account, BMI may not be able to effectively identify these risks when used as a single metric.
To gauge and identify the critical health issues that become more probable when a person is fat or overweight, it is still a useful beginning point. BMI can be combined with other metabolic indicators to predict overall health risks more effectively, including blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and waist circumference. Your doctors will be able to better advise you on whether your BMI accurately reflects your health.
Assessing your weight and health risk. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/risk.htm. Accessed October 15, 2013.
- Eknoyan G. Adolphe Quetelet (1796–1874)—the average man and indices of obesity. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2008;23(1):47-51.
- About BMI for adults. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/index.html. Last updated September 13, 2011. Accessed October 15, 2013.
- National Obesity Observatory. Body Mass Index as a Measure of Obesity. London, England: Public Health England; 2009.
- Obesity. World Health Organization website. http://www.who.int/topics/obesity/en/. Accessed October 15, 2013.
James WP, Jackson-Leach R, Mhurchu CN, et al. Overweight and obesity (high body mass index). In: Ezzati M, Lopez AD, Rodgers A, Murray CJ, eds. Comparative Quantification of Health Risks: Global and Regional Burden of Disease