Wednesday, July 15, 2009
To BMI or Not To BMI
My money is on Not to BMI. While for a certain body type person this may end up being an accurate calculation of obesity level, for the vast majority of people it is most definately not. I have believed for a very long time that a much more accurate measure is Body Fat %. The main problem with BMI as I see it is the logic behind the math is fundamentally flawed. The formula is based purely on weight and height, but what about those muscle builders? Since muscle is heavier than fat, if a person is in athletic or really fit shape, their weight will be higher thus their BMI higher, putting many of these people in the overweight or even obese category. What? Seriously? You're going to try and convince me that, for example, Mr. Olympia 2008 Dexter Jackson is Obese? At 233 lbs and 5' 6" his BMI is 37.6 putting him high into the Obese range. The case is similar with all the Mr. Olympia's.
Now, how are we, the average overweight person trying to get healthy, supposed to use this measurement to get us healthy? If we do too much muscle building, it bumps our weight higher so that even if we get down to the size we want to be, we'd still be overweight by BMI standards. So, maybe we don't build so much muscle, but that's what burns the calories so that we can lose the body fat. And what if we let our muscle mass shrink? Well, do you think the scrawny person who can't lift a gallon of milk is better off than someone who has so much muscle mass it boosts their BMI into Overweight or Obese? I sure don't. There has to be a happy middle in which we can build the muscle we need or desire, reach our size goal, and are still considered healthy. There is! It's called Body Compositon. This is a method for determining how much by percentage, of your body is Lean Mass (muscle, bone, organs), and how much is Body Fat. That is a much more accurate determination of overall health and risk levels.
Why don't we do this? Quite simply, BMI is fast, easy and cheap. Body Composition is not. I firmly believe this is holding us back, and I vow from this moment on not to look at, calculate or even consider BMI as a determinig factor in my healthy living efforts. While I may not be able to go through the fancy body composition testing, just usung a scale that measures body fat, or having a trainer at your gym measure with a scale or some calipers, is way more accurate. I'll stick with that.
Article: Top 10 Reasons Why The BMI is Bogus
Remember, weight loss and healthy living is a personal journey. No one can tell you how to make that journey or what path to take or not take. I suggest listening to what people have to say, soak in the advice and the articles, then make your own decisions. Come to conclusions that are right for you. You know your body better than anyone else!