Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measurement of risk for disease. Basically, you take your weight over your height squared to get a number that is then put into a chart to give an idea of your health. I say “give an idea” because, like all things, it isn’t always a perfect indicator. The biggest factor that throws it off is when someone does a lot of strength training. Their overall weight is higher but it is from muscle. This will give someone a high BMI, which they can be considered obese, but the reality is they are probably in good shape.
We have to use the BMI as one way to determine health risks, but not the only way.
As Karen Andry, R.D, says “It is a universal number to measure morbid obesity and obesity. When you start getting into 35-40 that is what we consider obese. 40 is Morbidly obese. 50 is super, super obese. The higher the number, the greater the correlation with death.”
One thing I stress with clients is to look at the overall picture, and a variety of tests for indicators of health and/or disease. We know if someone doesn’t have much muscle mass and their BMI is high, that can be a good measurement to take note of.
Andry goes on to talk about waist circumference as another way to measure obesity and it is used in the diabetes world. Watch the video below from Living Better for more information.
Always take outlying factors into account when having different measurements taken. There will always be something that can skew a number and make it confusing.
Until next time…