The body mass index (BMI) is used to measure your weight relative to your height. BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters. For example, if you are 5 feet tall and weigh 160 pounds, then your BMI would be 16.7 which means that you are overweight or obese according to the American Medical Association’s (AMA) guidelines. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), normal weights range from 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2. A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered underweight, 30 and above is overweight, while those with BMIs greater than 30 are severely obese.
What Are Your Thoughts On Ideal Body Weight Calculator?
You may have heard about the body mass index (BMI). You might even believe it’s accurate enough to determine whether you’re too fat or not!
But what does the BMI actually mean? What exactly do they measure? And how accurate is it anyway?
Let’s take a look at these questions and more.
What Does the Body Mass Index Measure?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), BMI is “a way of classifying individuals into one of four categories based on their weight status.” These categories are: underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese.
The BMI formula is as follows: BMI = weight(kg)/height(m2). Take the number you get and check below to see which category you fall into.
Underweight: less than 18.5
Normal: 18.5 to 24.9
Overweight: 25 to 29.9
Obese: 30 or greater
The BMI formula is convenient in that it gives a good estimate of whether you’re at a healthy weight for your height. But it has some downsides as well. For one, it doesn’t distinguish between fat and muscle.
Two people could have the same BMI but completely different body compositions.
Also, did you know that the BMI formula was created in the 19th century?
It has since been updated to account for different height variances (e.g. short, medium, and tall). Despite these modifications, some still believe it’s not accurate.
How Accurate Is the Body Mass Index?
A body builder, for example, will have a high BMI because he or she has a lot of muscle, not because he or she is overweight.
Another problem with the BMI is that it seems to be inaccurate for certain groups of people. These groups include athletes, hip hop artists, and people from certain ethnic backgrounds.
Athletes: According to the University of Delaware, American football players who are BMI-classified as obese actually have large amounts of muscle, not fat.
The short answer is that it’s not always accurate. As mentioned above, it can’t tell the difference between fat and muscle which means that it might label some athletes as overweight or obese when in reality they’re completely fine. It can also have issues with certain medical conditions (e.g.
paralysis, muscular dystrophy) or drug use (e.g. anabolic steroids).
Hip Hop Artists: As noted in The Washington Post, some hip hop artists have been criticized for being too thin. But this isn’t necessarily a health problem; instead, it may be a result of the artists’ depictions of wealth and excess. Fans buy into the image that these artists sell, so they want to see them as gaunt and thin.
How to Interpret Your BMI: If your BMI is 25 or less, you’re underweight.
If it’s over 30, you’re obese.
A score of 20-25 means you’re overweight.
Between 18.5 and 20 means you’re normal or just slightly overweight.
A lot of people have heard about the BMI but aren’t exactly sure what it means or how accurate it is.
Again, the main issue is that it doesn’t distinguish between fat and muscle. It’s more of a general guideline for whether you’re overweight or not.
People of Asian Descent: As noted by the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Asian people tend to have a higher BMI percentage than other races. This means that they are more likely to be categorized as overweight or obese based on their BMI even if they aren’t necessarily overweight.
BMI isn’t useless though. Hopefully, this article gave you a better idea of its purpose and limitations. It’s still a good starting point if you’re trying to determine whether you’re overweight or not.
Sources & references used in this article:
Is there such a thing as “evidence-based management”? by DM Rousseau – Academy of management review, 2006 – journals.aom.org
Relation of lifespan to brain weight and body weight in mammals by GA Sacher – Ciba Foundation colloquia on ageing, 1959 – Wiley Online Library
Reality check: there is No such thing as a miracle food by M Inoue-Choi, SJ Oppeneer, K Robien – Nutrition and cancer, 2013 – Taylor & Francis
Too much of a good thing? by JB Allred – Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 1995 – search.proquest.com
Constructing normalcy by LJ Davis – The disability studies reader, 1997 – books.google.com