Weight Management 3 MIN READ 34 VIEWS May 28, 2021

BMI Is Not An Accurate Measure Of Obesity

Written By Jyoti Jaswal

There is a good chance that you have come across the term Body Mass Index, or BMI for short. This is a number that is calculated based on your height and weight, which helps you determine whether or not you belong to a healthy weight range as per your age. 

Traditionally, people with a BMI of over 30 points are considered to be obese in the medical field. However, it has come to light that BMI may not be an accurate measure of obesity and several other health conditions.

Here a few reasons why you should not be using BMI as a standard measure of your health.

Does Not Take Health Factors Into Consideration

BMI often fails to take specific conditions and health factors such as age, weight, genes or medica history into consideration as it is primarily concerned with indicating only whether or not a person belongs to a normal weight class. 

At the same time, several other important measures such as blood sugar, cholesterol and inflammation levels are not taken into consideration despite the fact that they play a huge role in indicating the current state of a person’s actual health.

Apart from this, there also stands the fact that men and women have primarily different body compositions, with men inherently having more muscle mass and less body fat in comparison with women. BMI fails to take this into consideration. At the same time it also ignores the dynamic changes experienced in the body fat and muscle mass levels of both gender as they age. 

Last but not least BMI also ignores non physical factors such as sociological, economical, and mental well being which have a major impact on the person’s income and access to resources that shape their nutritional intake.

Assumes Everyone Has The Same Weight

While muscle and weight may weigh the same on a physical scale, there still remains the fact that muscle is more dense in nature which causes it to take up less space. Due to the compact packing of muscle fibres and the density of nature, a person who has little to no fat content can weigh a lot heavier on the scale owing to their muscle mass. 

While this theory fails to apply to two people who belong to the same height and weight, it is still important to note that simple discrepancies such as these can easily cause people to be wrongly classified as obese or overweight despite them having a very low body fat content. Which is why it is important to consider factors such as bone density, muscle mass, and body fat levels before classifying someone as obsese. 

Fails To Consider Body Fat

While it is true that having a higher BMI has a general correlation to poor health. The actual location and distribution of fat in one’s body has a huge role to play in determining whether or not they are obese and have a risk of developing a health condition. 

People with significant amounts of fat stored in and around their abdominal region stand at a higher risk of being prone to crni diseases than those with excessive fat stored in their thighs and buttocks. This proves that body fat stands as a vital factor for determining the body’s health, and BMI fails to consider where fact is stored on the body, which is a potential cause for misclassifying someone as unhealthy.

May lead to weight bias

Most medical professionals are often inclined to use their best judgment while diagnosing a patient with a certain condition. They are trained to view every patient as a unique study and not make generalisations based on a few numbers that may be indicative of their physical health. However, a few medical professionals tend to rush into their process and use a patient’s BMI as a way to ascertain their medical standing point. 

For example, a moderately healthy looking person with a serious underlying condition could have a high BMI, causing the doctors to wrongly diagnose the patient with obesity based on their BMI, completely ignoring the underlying medical condition. Such medical judgements often cause the patients to hesitate going to their healthcare providers as they fear being judged based on their BMI.  

Instead of using BMI as a fixed standard for determining how obese or healthy you are, it is better to rely on proven standards such as measuring your body with a tape or checking your wasit-to-height ratio. They are more quantitative in nature and cater to every individual’s body type and their needs.

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