Body Mass Index (BMI) is one of the most commonly known values related to our health and bodies in our society. Almost everybody has checked their BMI in the past.
How about you? Do you know your BMI?
You might not believe it but I haven’t checked my BMI for many years. I know, you may think that I’m joking, but seriously, the last time this value was calculated for me was at my so-called “employee health screening” many years ago.
Let me tell you a little about this value.
What is BMI?
This number is simply defined as the ratio of a person’s mass (in kilograms) divided by the square of his height (m²). That’s it.
I often cite a quote from Albert Einstein. I believe that he hit the mark when he said “Everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler”.
In my opinion, the same thing is true when we talk about BMI. This number has confused millions of people, especially in recent decades.
What are the limitations of this value?
This value doesn’t consider your gender.
As I showed you before, this value is simply the relationship between your weight and height and nothing more. It does not put any weight on your gender.
Let us answer one question,
Who has generally more body fat than others?
- No difference
Obviously, we can’t generalize, but in the majority of cases women have more body fat than men. Usually if we compare the percentage of body fat in two similar size females and males, we see an almost 10% higher fat content in females than males.
In other words, if two people from different genders have the same weight and height, both might end up having the same BMI but different percentages of body fat. Based on many studies, we know that body fat is what matters, not your muscle mass or the weight of your bones.
BMI doesn’t include the race or family history of a person
This formula doesn’t care where your ancestors come from, whether your family members were 86” or 59” tall. It simply compares every person in the whole world to each other and disregards the so called “normal” of that specific race of people.
…and the bone and muscle mass
Yes, exactly, what about our bone mass? Many people have thicker bone mass than others. One person could have stronger bones and less body fat but the same BMI as somebody else with thinner bones and more fat.
With all the people who exercise and get larger muscles, what about their BMI? Should they be concerned if the BMI is above 25?
As you can see, we’re dealing with a very inaccurate tool to measure our health. This inaccurate approach to our well-being has made many people rich but caused considerable damage to our society.
A large number of people are so obsessed with this value that they’re open to try anything and I emphasize anything to reduce this value. There is another group of people with so called normal BMI who aren’t ready to take one step to improve their general health because of their “normal BMI”.
Let’s hope that we can reduce the fixation on this number and put Body Mass Index to rest at the Museum of Medical History.