Friday, May 20, 2011

Body Mass Index (BMI)

First of all I want to put out there that I think the BMI index is crap! Anyone who has ever wanted to lose weight or is into health and fitness has heard about the BMI or Body Mass Index scale. First of all the BMI scale does not take into account your gender, age, ethnicity, or muscle mass, and it can not tell the difference between lean body mass and fat mass. It also sets a rather strict, and almost irrational weight loss goal for some people.

This is why it is not a diagnostic tool but instead an inexpensive an “easy screening tool for weight categories” says Cathy Noras, MS, RD, a spokesperson with the American Dietetic Association.

The BMI scale was created 1988 to replace the old life insurance policy guides of a healthy weight and to regulate the normal’s or “healthy”, “overweight”, and “obese”, between doctors and other health officials. Please note that most BMI calculators are for adults only and not children.

The formula to calculating your BMI is to divide your weight in pounds by your height in square inches, then multiply the results by a conversion factor of 703.
(weight in pounds / (height in inches)2 ) x 703 = BMI
So if you are 5’5” and 150lbs:
(150 / (65)2) x 703 = 24.96=25
Completely confusing you? Yeah me too! Good thing for technology, we now have BMI calculators all over the place! MyfitnessPal’s BMI calculator can be found at
The guidelines for the BMI scale are 0-18.5 is Underweight, 18.5-25 is Healthy, 25-30 is Overweight, and over 30 is obese.

When reading your BMI it is important to remember what I always stress, find a weight that is good for YOU, not what is set my other people. Like, for me my Healthy BMI is 125-169 pounds. I will always be on the higher end of the BMI scale because of my body structure. I would look horrible at 125 pounds, just too skinny for me! And people like muscular athletes will have a higher BMI even though they do not have a higher percentage of body fat, and the elderly may appear to be normal when they are low because of muscle loss that comes with aging.

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