WHAT DOES BMI mean to you? It stands for Body Mass Index as you may know, a measure used to determine your relative health and mass by combining height and weight. You can be labelled anything from obese, normal, or underweight from your BMI based on averages.
Well, as we know with humans there is no real average. The BMI does not take into account bone mass, muscle mass, visceral fat or a large array of genetic and physical characteristics. Someone could be overweight for their height, but be healthier than someone who is underweight with a large percentage of visceral fat, but the BMI doesn’t account for this.
After reading the latest New Scientist, it appears the BMI was never intended for a global measure to determine how fat people are. As is human it crept into the medical world and despite it’s obvious flaws as mentioned previously, it continues to be a globally recognised measure. In fact its inception has likely led to an increase in the number of people being labelled obese, thereby inflating the real number of obesity cases worldwide. Obesity is still a big problem, but perhaps not the wrongly worded ‘epidemic’ that the medical community has depicted it to be. A far more accurate measure to determine if someone is fatter than they should be is BF% or body fat percentage. It is relative to the individual and gives a realistic picture of their current mass and whether it needs to be higher or lower.
The misuse of the BMI measure on such a large scale shows the laziness of the medical world and its reluctance to change, despite copious evidence existing that the BMI doesn’t provide accurate information with which to make valid judgments. It may work as a rough guide but rough guides are far from scientific. It makes me wonder what else is outdated that is in need of change and the untold impact it might have.