Body Mass Index has become quite the buzz word.
But what’s is it? And is it any good? Is this the most comprehensive measurement of health? Here at Exante, we take a closer look.
So what is BMI?
BMI is the body mass index and it is a measure that uses your height and weight to work out if your weight is healthy.
The BMI calculation divides an adult’s weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared. For example, A BMI of 25 means 25kg/m2.
For most people, an ideal range has been calculated between 18.5 to 24.9 range.
With a BMI over 25+, you are typically advised that you are in the overweight, obese and morbidly obese range depending on how high your number is.
Try our Exante BMI calculator to get your result.
Whilst it is a measure used by health professionals it shouldn’t be used as a definitive and comprehensive representation. Complementary measures such as Body Fat % and Visceral Fat ( the fat around your vital organs) should be taken account and most health professionals and personal trainers will take this on board.
Why is that?
Taking in additional measures will give a more accurate overview of the health of the individual.
BMI, whilst trusted, it is a flawed method as it only takes into account height and weight and average benchmarks.
As individuals, we all have genetic makeup in terms of our muscle mass and frames. We also have different approaches to fitness and exercise. Many healthy but more muscle prone individuals find themselves scoring overweight or obsess categories on the BMI scale despite being completely healthy and active so it should only be used as one of many guides.
So if not BMI, what should I be using?
First and foremost there is no better measurement than how you look and feel, but additionally, we would suggest using the following measurements:
Body fat can be measured in a number of ways. The traditional method, to coin a phrase, is to “pinch an inch” . If you are able to pinch flesh around your midriff or body then there is a higher body fat percentage evident. Medical professionals and Personal Trainers will use body fat callipers as a more accurate measurement.
Digital Body Composition Measurement
On the market now are more in-depth scales that allow the measurement of fat, muscle, visceral fat and hydration which all play a part in the end number on the scales. Brands such as Tanita are a great place to start and many gyms will have these machines available for use. If you don’t have access to a gym, most Boots Chemists and other chemist brands will have an electric body scale which measures body composition.
Inch loss will take into account the changes in lean muscle mass within your body, your clothes are getting small and you are too. Extra notches in the belt or having to drop a jean size are one of the many non-scale victories people are looking into, rather than measuring on BMI alone.
The Final Measure
It is our opinion that BMI shouldn’t be eradicated completely, it’s a good starting point and gives people a benchmark to be working towards, however, you should combine this measuring tool with others to give the most comprehensive view of health and progress.