Is BMI an Accurate Predictor of Health?
Living in a world where fitness has reached the highest level of importance is tremendous. The exceeding obsession for fitness has brought us to a blocked path where we need to know accurate health assessments.
Most of our fitness-focused crowd have heard that BMI is far from a perfect measurement. It is proven that BMI may overestimate or even underestimate a person’s body fat. In recent years it has been widely criticized for being too simple and only weight-focused. This has aroused the ever-growing consensus that this one-size-fits-all approach may be flawed.
What is BMI?
A healthy-o-meter that is based on the height and weight of a person is what BMI comprehends. The calculation estimates a person’s body fat. It divides the weight in kilograms by the height in meters squared
BMI = kg/m2
Then these results are broken down into four categories:
- Underweight ( < 18.5)
- Normal (18.5 – 24.9)
- Overweight (25 – 29.9)
- Obese (> 30)
It is highly used by doctors and trainers as a screening tool to indicate the category your body falls into. It helps doctors depict the possible health risks your body might get and for trainers to understand the level of activity they need you to do to get to the optimal level of BMI.
Where does BMI go wrong?
Being the quickest, affordable, and easily accessible way to screen your health, BMI has fallen behind in many aspects. It is known to be better suited for general populations’ information rather than of an individual. Here are a few factors that BMI fails to take into account.
BMI does not measure body fat percentage
The common unjustified prediction of BMI is that it does not distinguish between body fat and muscle mass. Since muscle tissue is more dense than fat, the incorrect information can cause misinterpreting a hunk of muscle to a hunk of fat. As a result, many athletes and bodybuilders are considered overweight despite being at their highest peak of health.
BMI does not consider different demographics
Since this technology was solely created for the White Europeans, it does not account for different demographics and races. BMI incorporates weight and height but does not consider gender and age. Therefore, it shows the same BMI for both genders, while women happen to have more fat in their bodies as compared to men. Similarly, older people have more fat as compared to younger ones despite the BMI being the same. This misinterpretation makes it hard to calculate the best weight a person should have keeping their gender, age, and race in consideration.
BMI cannot interpret body fat distribution
Fat is stored in different parts of the body. Fat in these parts play a different role, some are useful while others cause health issues. Locating fat is another important factor when considering overall health. Fat in the midsection of our body is more related to health complications than fat around our thighs. People with the same fat percentage on the BMI might have different health complications to none.
Next time you consider a body measurement tool, do so keeping all facts in mind. Here is to being mindfully healthy!