Don’t Rely on BMI

BMI (Body Mass Index) has seemingly become the go-to shorthand when determining a person’s health status. It is now so pervasive, in fact, that fitness-based video games like Wii Fit have incorporated it as a means of measuring your progress when you play.

The trouble with the nearly 200-year-old calculation is that due to its simplicity, it provides many users with misinformation – roughly, 20 percent. The biggest problem with the calculation method is the correlation, or lack thereof, between weight status and metabolic health. As the L.A. Times explains, “The proportion of obese adults who are metabolically unhealthy is high: 21%, or roughly 50.4 million Americans who should unambiguously worry physicians and public health authorities. But 8% of normal-weight adults are metabolically unhealthy. And if the latest research is borne out, that’s another 19.2 million that physicians and public health authorities should be fretting about (but who currently do not raise alarms).”

As always, it’s important to remember when considering new fitness goals or discussing health issues with your physician that the more information you can offer, the better off you’ll be.