Is the BMI index reliable?

We have all made use of the BMI at some point in our lives just to make sure that all was well, but what if you were aware that it doesn’t work for everyone and that it wasn’t a proper means of measurement?

There have been plenty of published articles, put out throughout the years, calling BMI a bunch of baloney. You might say, what is the reason for this? What we will provide you with is insight into what the professionals are saying and the alternative methods available to you that are superior to BMI.
What is BMI exactly?

BMI was thought of in 1998 at the National Institutes of Health to be certain that all sorts of medical professionals and governmental agencies had the same measuring tools with regard to the weight of patients.

It would indicate if an individual had a healthy weight by dividing their total weight in pounds, by their height in inches squared, then taking those results and multiplying it by a conversion factor of 703. Highly confusing right? Thankfully the table is available on Google images for us to view.
For instance, an indivdual measuring 5 feet 5 inches tall (65 inches) and weighing in at 150 pounds, the calculation would show up appearing as this : [150 ÷ (65)2] x 703 = 24.96.


A majority of medical professionals mesure using BMI since it is familiar to them. It is top choice, as it is very simple to break down those two figures and place them into an equation. It gives the doctor a look into whether a patient is high, low, or no risk when it comes weight related health issues.
Cathy Nonas (MS, RD), who speaks on obesity as a representative of the American Dietetic Association, says that she considers BMI to be an excellent and simple screening tool.


But there are occassions when simple does not equal accurate

Changing Views- BMI does not take into consideration an individual’s age, gender, or muscle mass. You could have an individual weighing 150 pounds and be overweight, as that is mostly fat, yet someone who weighs 150 but appears slim with plenty of muscle mass. It gives people the impression that they are overweight, when in fact they are not. This is often the situation for athletes.

For instance, we can look at NBA player Michael Jordan who had a BMI of 27 – 29 in his prime, which meant he was technically overweight, although his waist measured under 30 inches, according to Dr. Michael Roizen. Doctors are now under the belief that the circumference of the waist is a much more accurate indication of overall health.
Roizen, who co-authored “You: On a Diet” says that waist fat can damage your body more than when it’s at the hips since it’s more biologically active.

“Data reveals that the circumference of the waist is a more dependable measurement and most closely relates to obesity driven diseases.” You won’t need to do math to measure your waist correctly, unlike BMI. Use a soft tape measure along your bare midsection right at your belly button. Locate your hip bone, and measure around your abdomen right above the bone. The tape should be snug fitting without digging into your skin.

An additional option for doing this is measuring your height in inches, and cutting that number in half, your waist should not exceed that number.
Nick Trefethen, who teaches Numerical Analysis at the Mathematical Institute of Oxford University, states that using BMI can lead to accepting misinformation and becoming confused about the issue. He thinks the terms used to define BMI divide weight too much in those who are short and not enough in those who are tall. This indicates that tall people believe themselves to be fatter than they actually are, while shorter people believe themselves to be skinner. The confusion sinks in.


Everybody Is Different

Determining BMI via scales, nobody has the exact same body or shape. A person that is tall can weigh exactly the same as someone who is small, so BMI is not a very clear indicator of who is and is not overweight. Your body is affected not by just excess body fat, but it is also affected by the location of this fat on your body.
Those with an apple shape are at much more of an increased risk for health issues as they accumulate weight in their abdominal region.

If a man’s waist is larger than 40 inches, or a woman’s 35, and the BMI range is 25 – 34.9, then they’re in a higher risk category to get type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol and heart disease. One’s particular percentage of body fat, waist circumference, BMI, and level of physical activity needs to be considered for each individual when assessing one’s health.
University of Pennsylvania’s most recent research in the Journal of Science demonstrated that BMI can’t be differentiated among various kinds of fat that would affect metabolism and health differently. BMI can not take into consideration as to where the fat is stored.

Belly fat, which is mostly known as visceral fat, is much more of a danger than fat that can be found under the skin and fat around the hips. Visceral fat develops deep within the muscles and around the organs such as the liver and interferes on the body’s natural ability to balance needed energy by releasing certain hormones and agents. Even individuals considering themselves to be normal or thin can have excessive levels of visceral fat.


Other Methods

Certainly, BMI is not the only means for measuring body fat and checking if you are in good health.
An independent consultant who was once science director for the British Nutrition Foundation, Dr. Margaret Ashwell, stated that keeping your waist measurement to under half of how tall you are can help everyone, everywhere to live longer.
She says it should be thought of as a screen tool, in addition to the BMI. The BMI alone, does not account for distribution of fat in different places of the body.
Some indivduals use the skin fold thickness test to get a rough estimate of body fat percentage. It measures subcutaneous fat that can be found under the skin when you grasp a skin fold and measure the fat with calipers. Clearly, this alone is not highly accurate, as fat within humans is distributed to different areas of the body.


A very costly way of checking how much fat you have are CT Scans and MRIs, as they provide a much clearer view by distingushing fat from muscle, so that athletic types will not be deemed overweight. As a whole, it is clearly evident that the BMI does not work well for everyone, and a simple number on a scale should be the ruling factor of nobody’s life. Get plenty of exercise, eat properly, and you will always be your best.