Is Your BMI Really A Good Measure Of Your Health

What is your BMI—body mass index? It’s just one measure of your health. It uses both height and weight to calculate a number that is used with a chart to predict your overall health and whether you’re underweight or overweight. It replaced those charts that used to show the ideal weight and gave a better picture of your overall health that’s expressed with just one number. For example, if you’re a woman who is 5’6″ and you weighed 120 pounds, you’d be on the low end of normal. If you lost six pounds, you’d be underweight. You’d have to gain 35 pounds to inch your way into overweight. There are several online BMI calculators that you can use.

It’s not a perfect measure.

When something is as simple as a BMI calculator, it’s not always the most accurate. It simply indicates that it’s time to take a deeper look to ensure something isn’t wrong. For instance, you might be that 5’6″ person that weighs 160 pounds, putting you in the overweight group, but you have tons of muscle tissue, which weighs more per cubic inch than fat tissue does. Even though the BMI is higher, the reason they’re weight is higher makes them healthier. Not only does a high a mount of muscle mass throw off the charts, so does pregnancy. The charts aren’t very accurate for elderly or children, either.

What tracking your BMI can do for you.

While a higher BMI isn’t the perfect measure, a high BMI can indicate a potential for developing certain conditions like, diabetes, arthritis, colon-breast-or prostate cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, liver disease and sleep apnea, especially when it’s high. A noticeable change in BMI from one doctors visit to the next, whether it’s weight gained or lost, is also something to investigate if it’s not a planned weight loss and there’s no healthy reason for it.

New research shows that BMI isn’t the best indicator or very useful for cardiac health.

The study looked at a group of individuals and found a high BMI didn’t predict good cardiometabolic profile. That means they had normal blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Of those in the group with normal BMI, about a third had unhealthy cardiometabolic measures. While this may seem damning to the use of BMI, it isn’t. No one test or set of numbers is adequate to look at every aspect of health. That has always been a constant.

  • While the latest study identified that the BMI was flawed when it came to measuring cardiometabolic health, it did not consider using the BMI to measure for potential arthritis or liver disease.
  • BMI can be a good guide if you’re obese and trying to shed extra pounds. Combine its use with a tape measure and measure your circumference, too. That’s especially important not only for weight loss, but also exercise.
  • Your frame size also plays an important role in whether you’re underweight, normal, overweight or obese. The larger your frame size, the more you’ll tend to weigh, even if you have no body fat.
  • To see the fallacy of just using BMI, consider NFL quarterback who has a BMI that’s called obese. However, if a sedentary person had the same weight and height as Tom Brady, they would be obese.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

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