How Accurate is BMI as a measure of Weight

Body Mass Index which is commonly referred to as BMI is a way people use to track if they are underweight, just right, or overweight. While this can give a person an idea if they are at a healthy weight, BMI is not everything when it comes to tracking weight and progress.

While BMI may be helpful there are some flaws with this method. BMI does not make take into account the amount of muscle mass a person has. Muscle mass is heavy and this system takes it into the same account as fat. For example, Olympian Michael Phelps was considered to be overweight due to the amount of his muscle mass. Quarterback Tom Brady is considered to be almost obese based on his BMI and he has a lot of lean muscle mass. This is because muscle mass weighs 18 percent more than fat does. If a person has a piece of fat and a piece of muscle mass, the muscles are going to weight more leading the BMI to read that a person is overweight.

BMI is not always reliable when it comes to the elderly. The elderly have lost some of their muscle mass and some of their bone mass. Their BMI can be within the normal area but due to the loss of bodily material, they may be overweight.

The BMI calculations are based on one type of body. This measurement for a healthy weight is based on the Caucasian body design and it may not be the best measurement for people of other ethnicities. Asian people seem to have a higher level of total body fat. They often have higher levels of fat deposits in their abdominal area and this can throw off the readings from the BMI.

There has been a correlation between BMI and health. People that are found to be within the normal BMI range are said to be in good health while those that are overweighed are not healthy. This is not always correct. People that were said to be overweight had further tested and their blood pressure and cholesterol levels were found to be within normal ranges. These people were found to be healthy. People that were found to be normal when it came to their BMI had further tested and they were found to be unhealthy based on cardiometabolic testing and measures. Some people that may be overweight can be healthy and while those that are in the normal range on the BMI scale may have some health issues and will need to make some lifestyle changes. They may need to change their eating habits or develop an exercise plan.

While BMI can help a person determine if they are within a target weight for their height and age it is not everything. BMI is not perfect when it comes to determining a healthy weight. A person should see their doctor for a physical to determine if they are healthy and not rely so much on their BMI rating and other things are going to impact this number.

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