Many of you may have heard one of these from health experts, "Your BMI is normal, you are in very good shape”; “Your BMI is more you need drastic weight reduction”; “You BMI is too low, you must consume a high fat diet & gain weight”.
But are you aware that BMI is NOT a credible determinant of ideal body weight & sound health
Body Mass Index (BMI) is the ratio of height to weight. It is widely relied upon as a measure of overall health, which it is not. And that is simply because it does not take into consideration a person’s body composition i.e distribution of muscle, bone & fat. And therefore a highly muscular person can be classified as overweight or obese even though the extra weight that he carries is typically that of dense bones & lean body mass or muscle (For e.g. athletes).
Similarly a person with normal BMI can be in poor health due to low lean body mass & high adipose stores (fat stores). While there are multiple ways to determine body composition, skin fold callipers,body circumference measurements & BioElectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) are the most commonly used. Other methods such as DXA, BIS, 3D Body scanners etc are used in larger institutions. So the next time a ‘health expert’ talks to you about BMI ensure you ask about the importance of body composition analysis. And if they try to convince your BMI is the only vital tool to determine ideal weight, you know you’re dealing with a ‘quack’.