Is the Body Mass Index (BMI) Being Phased Out?
Have you ever thought about the current universal method of measuring a person’s body fat? It is the Body Mass Index, or BMI that is being used, and has been used since the 1800’s. Nothing has really changed within that subject, and it is still being measured the exact same way: Divide your weight (pounds) by your height (inches) squared, and multiply that number by 703. Then use the given chart to see if you are underweight, average, or overweight. 25-29.9 = Overweight. 18.5-24.9 = Average. Under 18.5 = Underweight. That’s it, that is how we have been and still are measuring if someone is underweight or overweight.
Now, how accurate is a BMI for an athlete, a bodybuilder for instance?
Well, the Body Mass Index does not account for muscle or fat, it is merely based off of height and weight. This leads to inaccurate measurements on a constant basis. In fact, the BMI calculation was proven to be inaccurate 50% of the time testing for cases whose fat amount posed a health risk. Another problem with this method is that it doesn’t measure exactly where on the body most of that excess fat is located. If someone is overall a skinny/average person but has a large abdominal region, then they might end up testing just barely overweight, and a doctor may just look right passed it like no big deal, but in actuality it is a health risk.
Recently, scientists have been trying to figure out a more accurate way to test body fat percentages, through x-rays (not healthy on a regular basis), scales (not accurate), a bioelectrical impedance analysis, which runs a current through your body to calculate fat, and lastly a Bod Pod, which calculates your body measurements. The last two are the most accurate in today’s market, but are also at a higher cost than a measurement like a scale or even a free one, like the BMI calculation.
What are your thoughts on Body Mass Index?
Do you know someone who was overweight and were overlooked at the Doctor because of the BMI? What do you think about the new ideas that scientists are coming up with? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject; leave a Comment in the section below!
Kim Shapira MS, RD