What Is BMI and Is It Accurate?

If you have been struggling with your weight or suffering from issues with your body image, you may be wondering about your BMI measurement. Is BMI, or body mass index, really an indication of health and a suitable weight, or are their other, more accurate ways to assess your well being and address your body image?

The BMI measurement has been in use for quite some time, and many physicians and weight loss experts still rely on it to assess patients and provide recommendations for nutrition and fitness. Over the past few years, however, this popular measurement of weight and health has come under renewed scrutiny. And while BMI is still a part of the picture, there are other health factors to consider as well.

What Is BMI?

The body mass index calculation is pretty simple and straightforward, a simplicity that may partially explain the calculations enduring popularity. To calculate your body mass index, all you need is your height and your current weight.

Armed with those two numbers, you can easily calculate your BMI online. 1 There are many different BMI calculators available, and that makes it easy to track your own number.

Fit or Fat?

That BMI calculation may be easy, but is it really accurate? The results of a BMI calculation can sometimes be misleading, and much of that has to do with the relative weights of fat and muscle.

For those with a high degree of muscle mass and a low percentage of body fat, the results of a body mass index calculation can be seriously misleading. That is because muscle weighs more than fat, so an athlete with ripped abs could be classified as obese based on BMI calculations alone.

One of Many Factors

Body mass index, or BMI, can be an important indication, and a sign that you may need to lose some weight. At the same time, it is important to understand that BMI is only one of many factors and that other indicators are just as important in determining your overall health and fitness.2

Even if your BMI is at the higher end of the scale, it is important to look at other factors as well, including your diet, how much you exercise and the recommendations of your doctor. If your blood pressure is low, your cholesterol is under control and your diet is healthy, you should not let BMI alone dictate your weight loss plans.


References

  1. BMI (Body Mass Index) – medicalnewstoday.com
  2. Assessing BMI – cdc.gov