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« Bribing enemy soldiers | Main | Newsweek magazine -- it's still around? »

March 14, 2011



An essential problem with BMI is that it is not truly linked to health outcomes. People who are "overweight" actually live longer on average than people who are "normal" and of course people who are "obese." http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20090625/study-overweight-people-live-longer

Matthew Lewis

BMI is, at best, an incredibly crude look at whether our not you're at a healthy weight. It doesn't take into account things like body composition, which can make "healthy weight" vary by quite a lot. Someone who has very low body fat but is heavily muscled will register as overweight or obese, which clearly isn't accurate. I guess what I'm saying is that BMI isn't something to pay attention to. Personally, all I need is a mirror to tell me when I'm in shape or not.

Tung Yin

@James -- Interesting study, but I'm not sure what to make of it. Since I'm dropping pounds mostly through increased exercise, I don't think I'd do anything differently.

@Matthew -- Yes, unfortunately, I do not have the "I'm too muscular" excuse on the BMI. I suspect I have exactly the body type that BMI would be most accurate regarding.

Tom Snee

I just use pant size to measure whether I'm too fat. If my waist is size 34, I'm fine. If 34 gets a bit snug, then I step up the exercise.

Health Avatar

The Truth About BMI Body Fat And Health :

Though one of the most popular tools used today to determine whether someone is at a healthy weight or not is the BMI, body fat and lean muscle tissue don't figure into the equation. This has led many experts to discount BMI as an archaic measurement that isn't accurate for many people. What is BMI, and why is it a good measure for some, maybe, and completely wrong for others?

BMI, or body mass index, was created in the early 1800s by Adolphe Quetelet. Because of that, it's sometimes called the Quetelet index. It's nothing more than a way of comparing a person's weight to his or her height, and determining if his or her weight falls into a healthy and normal range. The BMI is still used today pretty much as it was when Quetelet invented it.

The formula for figuring BMI (body fat, bone and frame size, muscle and body type aren't included in that) is this: Take your height in meters squared (your height times itself) and divide your weight in kilograms by that number. For example, if I'm 5 feet tall, that's about 1.5 meters. To square that number, take 1.5 times 1.5. The result of that is 2.5. So if I weigh 120 pounds, that's about 54.5 kilograms. Divide 54.5 by 2.5 and I get 21.8 as my BMI. The normal weight range is from 18.5 to 24.9, so 21.8 is classified as a normal weight. Underweight is considered 18.5 and below, while overweight people will calculate a BMI of 25 to 29.9. A BMI of 30 or greater indicates obesity.

BMI, body fat and general health can all be used as signs of how fit a person is. But where general health is pretty self-explanatory and the percentage of body fat clearly shows whether a person gets enough exercise or not, BMI is a bit trickier.

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Emilia Pickrell

I've read from somewhere that BMI does not take into consideration fat mass as a separate entity from lean muscle mass. It's something like BMI is just measuring the composite mass, regardless of which one's for fat and which ones for the other, in relation to your height.
In any case, good luck with your weight loss journey. My cousin in Utah has also started with his plan, and I'm pretty sure that the clinic he's visiting will help him.

Body Mass Index

I'd rather trust your body more than strange numbers. BMI is ok only for general estimation of a body's condition, but not for setting weight losing/gaining goals. The same thing with me: for the last 5 months I've lost some fat and gained a little bit of muscle mass. Neither my BMI, nor mu weight (!) has changed.

Simon S

I agree. No matter what the number is, it is still you who knows if you already need to trim down or not. It is your body and your choice, although bmi calculators plays an important role as well as they are the indicators or warning sign for you.

Chris Banker

BMI is nothing more than a basic and crude rule of thumb. It should only be used as a general reference or starting point. The BMI chart makes a great deal of assumptions about your body's makeup that may or may not be true.
As an (albeit uncommon) example, Kevin Randalman, UFC and MMA fighter, is just under 6' and weighs in excess of 220lbs. The BMI chart would classify him as "obese", but his bodyfat% (last I looked) was ~7%! How can that be called obese?
IMHO it's important to remember a couple thingsā€¦first that "extra pounds" isn't what you're trying to avoid - "extra FAT" is what should be avoided. Also remember that muscle weighs a great deal more than fat (by volume), and having some "extra" muscle is never a bad thing, IMHO! :)
That being said, I find that the BMI calculation is useful as a 'reference point' or a basic starting place, and I do track mine (23.2 atm), along with bodyfat%, weight, and various other metrics. I highly recommend tracking as many metrics as you can in order to give a more complete picture of your body's condition and health.
Just my 2-cents. :)


Yogurt is packed with calcium - a mineral is much needed to build healthy, strong bones. But despite the momentum toward weight gain, you can stop it from happening, experts say. If you want to remain satisfied and full, try consuming over 50% of your calories from fresh fruit and vegetables. Many women are sometimes not satisfied with the way they look to the extent of going through the knife just to look good and feel good about themselves.

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