BMI, or Body Mass Index, has long been used to measure whether or not someone is within a healthy weight. In addition to stepping on a regular scale, you might also have a BMI scale at home that tells you whether or not you are obese based on your weight and height. But even though BMI measurements have been around for a long time and people have been using them to gauge their health, experts have found that BMI isn’t all that accurate after all. Continue reading to learn more.
People Carry the Same Weight Differently
The BMI measurement is supposed to be able to estimate how much body fat you are carrying based upon your weight and your height. But the same amount of weight could look quite different from one individual to another, as it all depends upon people’s unique body composition. For example, someone who is really muscular might end up weighing themselves and finding that their BMI claims that they are unhealthy, even though they are actually lean and healthy. This alone proves that a BMI measurement could be really inaccurate and misleading.
Distinguishing Body Fat from Muscle, and Different Types of Fat
Here’s a major problem with BMI measurements: they can’t tell the difference between muscle weight and fat weight. Muscle actually tends to be heavier when compared to fat, so a toned person could very well be placed into the overweight or even the obese category simply because their muscles weigh a lot and they aren’t very tall. You could be muscular and actually be carrying around a minimal amount of fat, but a BMI measurement may still claim that you are too fat!
BMI also can’t determine where body fat is found. A thin person could actually have a high amount of what is known as visceral fat, such as belly fat. This type of fat is harmful because it is found around organs and muscles, rather than just underneath the skin. But if a thin person with visceral fat got their BMI measured, they may be told that they are fine when they really aren’t all that healthy after all.
Here’s What a Study Found
Need further proof that BMI measurements aren’t accurate? A study that was published in the journal PLoS One found that roughly 50% of women who weren’t considered obese by BMI standards were, in reality, obese according to their body fat percentage.
So the next time that you have your BMI measured, keep the information above in mind, and don’t let the BMI measurement mislead you.