Should You Pay Attention to Your BMI?

Summer 2019 is here, and you haven’t quite gotten the swimsuit body that you planned for all winter. You decide now it’s time to get serious about losing weight and getting into shape. While doing your research on the next new and most effective diet plan, you come across information that suggests maybe your BMI is not as critical to weight loss as once thought. How is that so you ask? Let’s discuss in more detail what BMI is, what it does, and how it affects your weight loss. BMI stands for Body Mass Index.
Simply put, it is your weight in comparison with your height. A healthy body mass falls between 18.5 and 25 kg/m². If your BMI is less than that amount, you are most likely underweight and if higher than you are likely overweight. BMI is said to measure body fat; however, studies suggest that BMI does not differentiate between body fat or body muscle when it comes to mass. In its current calculations, mass is mass. Therefore, your BMI may not give the most accurate information concerning your body fat.

Although a BMI may not be 100 percent fail proof, it is still a key indicator that let’s doctor’s determine obesity and other weight-related illnesses. You can calculate your BMI at home to determine what your numbers are indicating. A simple BMI formula is your weight in pounds multiplied by 703 then divide that result by your height (inches), then divide that result by your height (inches) again, for a final BMI result. A BMI between 18.5 and 24 is an indication of good health. At this level, blood pressure and glucose levels are typically normal. People with a higher BMI range tend to have higher numbers with blood pressure, glucose, and other obesity indicators. People who complain of chest pain, joint and muscle aches tend to have higher BMI’s. These people are less likely to exercise due to low energy and overall lethargy.

Since muscle is denser than fat, BMI can calculate this as a higher body mass. The formula for BMI was developed by Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet, a Belgian born scientist, in the 1830s. At that time, body mass was thought to correlate with fat, and therefore, muscle mass was not accounted for in the formula. Although BMI is still widely used, it leaves out key factors that could indicate disease onset. In fairness to Quetelet, he was not trying to determine the fat mass in the body; instead, he was attempting to determine the average build of males in his era.
The BMI formula does not account for weight distribution and large concentrations of fat in different areas of the body. A higher BMI doesn’t automatically mean poor health, nor does a lower BMI mean good health. A healthy diet and exercise routine are the best methods to maintain good health. A visit to your doctor is the best way to determine your current state of health. A BMI is still a useful indicator when taken with the proper grain of salt.