Is BMI An Accurate Predictor Of Health?

If you’ve gone to a doctor and been weighed and measured or even used those blood pressure machines in pharmacies, you probably had your BMI measured. BMI stands for Body Mass Index and uses your height and weight to predict the amount of body fat you have, ultimately addressing health issues that can be caused by too little or too much fat. Is it an accurate predictor of health? The problem is there are far more factors to consider, such as total body composition and bone density.

Doctors use BMI as a quick reference.

Just knowing someone’s weight can’t tell you much. A person might be the perfect weight at 155-pounds, but also overweight or underweight. It all depends on your height. If you’re six feet four inches tall, it might be too little for your height and if you’re barely four foot eight, you might be obese. The BMI chart has weight at the top and height at the side. The spots they intersect are assigned a value that’s between 12 and 50. From 12-18 is underweight. Between 18.5 and 24.9 is normal with 25 to 29.9 being overweight and any higher considered obese.

You need more information to get a complete picture of your health.

Other information also factors into your overall health, like whether you’re muscular or flabby. Muscle tissue weighs more than fat tissue does, so you’re bound to weigh more. If you’re muscular, you might weigh the same as someone who isn’t and look far thinner. Your bone structure plays a big role. Men have a heavier bone structure than women, so that adds extra pounds.

BMI isn’t meant to be the final verdict in whether you’ll be healthy.

BMI is just a place to start. It’s used by doctors and also by insurance companies to evaluate your health risk, since many risks are related to weight, both overweight and underweight. Doctors immediately notice a person’s build, so they factor it into the equation. While it’s an indicator to be more vigilant for signs of heart disease, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes and more health issues, it’s not the final verdict.

  • One important indicator of good health that’s becoming more popular is waist circumference. Men with a waist bigger than 40-inches and women with a waist bigger than 34-inches have a greater risk of diabetes and other health problems.
  • RFM—relative fat mass index is a new technique that gives a quick picture of health. It uses waist measurements and height to calculate health. It’s also a shortcut method that helps identify problems, but isn’t the last word on health.
  • The biggest flaw in BMIs is that it has no way to consider muscle mass. While there’s a big difference between someone with no muscle tone and someone who is extremely muscular, there are many graduated steps in between the two.
  • Measuring your body density, which is fat and volume, can be expensive if you want to be precise. MRI scans and underwater weighing are just two ways to measure it that cost a considerable amount.

For more information, contact us today at Gym Slayer

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