Monday, April 23, 2012

Body Mass Index (BMI) - INACCURATE

Body Mass Index (BMI) was invented over 200 years ago by a Belgian named Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet. He was a mathematician, not a physician. He produced the formula to give a quick and easy way to measure the degree of obesity of the general population.

BMI is calculated using a person's weight divided by his or her height squared.  The resulting BMI score is a single number between 1 and 100. 

The greatest flaw in this logic is it does not consider anything other than weight and height -- as if we are all identical in body structure!  There is no allowance for the relative proportions of bone, muscle and fat in the body.   Bone is denser than muscle.  Muscle is denser than fat (twice as dense as fat).   Therefore, a person with strong bones, good muscle tone and low body fat will have a high BMI.     According to the BMI measurement, fit/ health-conscious people who work out a lot may be classified as overweight or even obese.

There are alternatives:  Use body fat measurements obtained by a professional instead of BMI to access your status and progress.   The most accurate body fat measurement is underwater weighing or the air displacement graph (also called a bodpod).  These two methods however are usually available at a fitness and sports institute (such as NIFS - the National Institute for Fitness and Sports in Indianapolis).   A more readily available measurement option is a skinfold assessment using calipers.     Stay away from those scales you stand on or a device you hold to measure, they are also very inaccurate.  

Stay tuned…………..

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