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Fitness & Wellness

What Is BMI?

BMI stands for body mass index. It’s one measure of your overall health, but not the final one. BMI uses a chart to calculate a number that shows whether you’re underweight, healthy, overweight, obese or extremely obese. It’s reached in a simple manner. Just find the patient’s height at the side of the chart and weight at the top. Where the two intersect, it’s their BMI. There are charts specifically for men, women and children. If you’re a 5’8″ woman and weighed 140-pounds you’d be listed as healthy, but if you gain twenty pounds, you’d be listed as overweight.

The height-to-weight ratio is important, but there are still flaws.

One problem with using the BMI number, which ranges from 9 to over 30, as an indicator of health is that everyone is different. Someone who has a big bone structure will weigh more than someone who has a smaller frame and that’s not accounted for using BMI. People with more muscle mass may weigh more and be healthier than someone with the same measurements, but lots of fat. Muscle weighs more than fat tissue does.

It’s not perfect, but it helps.

If you’ve been going to the same health care professional for quite a time and suddenly he or she sees your BMI change, with the number moving either way, up or down, it’s time for your health care professional to take a second look and ask some question. What did you change? If you are losing weight, were you trying to lose it? Did you start an exercise program? Is there something wrong that’s causing you to lose weight? If you’re BMI is constantly increasing, it’s time to take action and do something about the weight gain.

Tracking your BMI compares your weight and height to options considered healthier.

It may not be the perfect measure of good health, but it’s an easy way to start. People with a high BMI have a bigger risk of developing conditions like arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, high cholesterol, liver disease, colon, breast or prostate cancer or sleep apnea. Combined with other medical information, it can help the health care professional identify problems earlier and more precisely.

  • A new technique called RFM—relative fat mass index—includes waist measurement replacing weight as part of the calculation and is far more accurate, while also being just as easy to calculate.
  • Other alternatives to BMI, besides RFM, are far harder to do and more expensive. They include MRI scans and underwater weighing, which calculates body volume and density.
  • In most cases, BMI is a quick go to, since it identifies problems with weight in 80% of the cases. If someone is fit and muscular, most doctors can see that immediately. Insurance physicals and places where the person isn’t seen, but where just the BMI number is shown is often the problem.
  • Taking waist circumference in addition to BMI is important. Your BMI may show you’re not overweight, but your waist circumference, an indicator of diabetes and other diseases, might say differently. A 40.2 inch waist for men or a 34.6 inch waist for women increases the chance of diabetes.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

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