Body Mass Index (BMI) is a statistical measure that compares a person's hight and weight. It can be a useful tool when estimating a healthy body weight based on how tall a person is. Due to its ease of measurement and calculation, it is the most used measure of obesity problems.
However, ease of calculation is pretty much all it has going for it. The fundamental problem with the BMI calculation is that it doesn't take into account body shape and composition. For example, a person who is 6 foot tall and muscular, weighing around 185-190 pounds is classed as overweight. Now this is obviously incorrect- the fact that muscle weighs more than fat can offset the BMI calculation severely.
Many doctors and fitness instructors use the BMI calculation as a means to justify when people should lose weight, often with poor consequences. The person in our example (6 foot, muscular, 185-190lbs) would be silly to go on a crash diet in an attempt to get into the "normal" BMI range, as doing so would result in drastic lifestyle changes- possibly with unhealthy consequences. It is therefore very important to clarify what definition group is being used e.g "athletic" or "slim/ skinny" when using the BMI.
Next time you visit the doctor for your annual checkup and the BMI measure is brought out, just consider the points raised above before you plan your fitness goals for the following months.
It is therefore important to