BMI (Body Mass Index) is a calculation that doctors and health care professionals will use to determine if you are at a healthy weight. Recently, the BMI has been receiving a lot of criticism for being ‘flawed’ in its relatively simplistic way of assessing whether a person is in their healthy weight range. This blog is going to examine exactly how the BMI is calculated and what limitations it has when applied to the general population.
The BMI calculation is quite simple: It is your height (in metres) squared and then that figure is divided into your current weight. If you are 170cm (or 1.7m) and weigh 80kg, then you would multiply 1.7 x 1.7 to get a figure of 2.89. You then divide 2.89 into 80 – this is when a calculator comes in handy – to get a final figure of 27.7.
If your BMI is between 20-25, you are considered to be in the healthy weight range. However, a BMI of 27.7 (as in the previous paragraph) would put you in the overweight category. A BMI over 30 means you are clinically obese.
Unfortunately, there are many things the BMI does not tell us. BMI is a measure of relative weight only; fat mass and muscle mass are not distinguished. For example, if we were to calculate the BMI on Arnold Schwarzenegger (back in his prime ‘Terminator’ days), he would have definitely fallen into the obese category simply because of the amount of muscle he had on his body. However, as we know, Arnie certainly was not obese!
Secondly, the BMI does not take into account the distribution of body weight and its associated health risk. It is now well established that individuals who deposit much of their body weight around their midsection, the so called apple-shaped, are at much greater risk of disease and early mortality in contrast to the pear-shaped people, who carry their weight more in the lower body area. Thus, two individuals with a BMI of 27.7 could have drastically different body shapes, and thus varying risk of disease and early death.
The BMI is not the ‘be all and end all’ to your ‘perfect’ shape. I tend to find, in dealing with my weight loss clients, that the healthy weight range for people who are under 165cm can be quite low (especially in the case of older clients). So while BMI might be a great ‘guide’ to help you determine your healthy weight range, at the end of the day, your goal weight should be one that is easy to achieve, makes you feel comfortable and does not mean you have to ‘starve yourself’ to maintain it.
Call The Natural Way on 1300 SLIMMER (754663) TODAY to speak to a weight loss consultant about your healthy weight. Together, we can set a weight loss goal that is realistic for you and work towards it with a personalised program that is tailored to suit your needs, tastes and budget. If you don’t live near a clinic, don’t panic! You can still have access to our fantastic formulations via our mail order system: phone 0458 754663 and discuss your weight loss or health needs with Cora.
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