Body mass index (BMI) is used to determine whether you are at a healthy weight. It’s a very simple formula that uses just two variables – height and weight. Can you really get a good measurement of health from BMI?
Is BMI Really That Accurate?
Let’s take a look at the BMI chart above. Look closely at the section highlighted in orange. If you fall into this section, you are considered overweight. Now, do you think that a 5’6″ male that is 181 pounds is overweight? I don’t, but according to this chart, that person wouldn’t just be considered overweight, but he would be nearly obese. You tell me, does this person look like he’s almost obese?
What about a 5’8″ female that is 158 pounds? According to the BMI chart – just 3 pounds away from being overweight. Does the person below look 3 pounds away from being overweight? Do you see the pattern? For people living an active and fit lifestyle, BMI is close to worthless.
I’ve heard countless stories like this from other people too. Doctors telling their patients they need to lose weight because this arbitrary BMI chart says they’re overweight. When are we going to move beyond such a ridiculous measurement? The body mass index (BMI) was created during the 1800s. Have we not advanced enough as a society to figure out how meaningless this measurement really is?
Measuring Healthy Body Composition
Thankfully, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. We already know how to take accurate body composition readings. Body fat measurements tell the bigger story. We even have tests now to show how much fat mass, muscle mass, and other mass our bodies are comprised of.
A simple body fat caliper test can measure your fat mass and non fat mass. It can’t quite measure lean body mass accurately (it groups all non fat mass together), but that’s OK. For a person that is concerned about being fit and healthy, a $10 pair of body fat calipers is all they need to accurately track their health and fat loss progress.
Let’s Put an End to Weight Measurements
Do you even know what your body fat percentage is? Odds are that you don’t. That’s OK. You know what you have to do. Everyone should know what their body fat percentage is. It’s a real eye opener. It’s an even bigger eye opener once you take your second body fat measurement after a month or so of healthy eating and exercising. It’s then that you start to realize the meaningless stat of weight and BMI, and you start to appreciate the importance of body composition.
Not only could you have lose more fat than the scale is showing, but you could have also put on some muscle. Can the BMI show you that? Not a chance. Is the BMI accurate? Only as an average of the population at whole. For people living a fit lifestyle, it’s time to retire the BMI for good.
Calculate your BMI from the chart. Is it accurate? Does it represent a good portrayal of your body composition?