Clinical Importance and Alternatives of Body Mass Index (BMI)

Why Is BMI Not Important?

When it comes to losing weight, building muscle, and eating well, most people want to know that they are healthy. Probably everyone has encountered a body mass index by now and most likely knows how many. While body mass index is useful for giving people a brief and limited view of their health, it is not entirely accurate. For this reason, many people question whether this concept is useful or should be overlooked for other alternatives. This article contains information on why body mass index is important and the reasons for some inconsistencies.

BMI Value

Body Mass Index Turkish BMI is known in English as IBM and is a measure of a person’s weight relative to their height. It is more an indicator than a direct measurement of a person’s total body fat. BMI is often linked to total body fat. This means that as the BMI score increases, the total body fat of the person also increases. The World Health Organization defines an adult with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 as being overweight. An adult with a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese, a BMI below 18.5 is considered a lean and a healthy weight between 18.5 and 24.9.

The short BMI value for body mass index is calculated by dividing body weight in kilograms and height in meters squared. Pounds and inches can also be used, but the equation varies. Although BMI cannot measure the amount of fat in the body, research has proven that BMI is as accurate as skin-folded calipers and can be used with other scientific methods such as densitometry, bioelectric impedance, and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Body mass index is mostly used for adults aged 20 and over. There are standard BMI ranges as follows:

• BMI below 18.5 – Low weight

• BMI from 18.5 to 24.9 – Normal / Healthy Weight

• BMI between 25.0 and 29.9 – Overweight

• BMI 30.0 or greater – Obese

• BMI of 40.0 or above – Morbidly Obese

BMI in an individual is calculated using a mathematical formula. It can also be estimated using tables where height in inches and weight in pounds can be matched to estimate BMI. There are also useful calculators on websites that help calculate BMI. Formula – BMI = (Weight in kilograms) divided by (height in square meters) A normal BMI score is a score ranging from 18.5 to 24.9. This shows that the person is in the normal weight range according to his height. A BMI chart is used to categorize the person as underweight, normal, overweight or obese.

How Can BMI Help?

Clinical Significance and Alternatives: It has been recognized by researchers that BMI is useful for approximately 90-95% of the population to measure whether someone is obese or not. Since height and weight are determinants of how fat is stored in the body, it makes sense that BMI can show who is at risk. However, some critics say that deciding whether someone is overweight or obese based solely on their height and weight is a poor way of interpreting health risks. BMI is a really useful screening tool, but other factors need to be kept in mind by health and medical professionals.

Is BMI Important?

While BMI is by no means a perfect measure of body fat, those who are inactive or just beginning their fitness and health journey can use it to understand their risks for heart disease, diabetes and similar diseases caused by obesity. If a person is not an athlete or very muscular, BMI can be an excellent tool. However, there are some reasons to use BMI as just a guideline or baseline.

Clinical Importance of BMI

BMI is an indicator of total body fat in many people and is therefore considered an indicator of health risk. It is used by healthcare professionals to screen overweight and obese individuals and to assess the health risks associated with obesity and overweight. For example, those with high BMI are at some risk and these are:

  • High blood cholesterol or other lipid disorders
  • 2 types of diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • Certain cancers
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Sleep apnea and snoring
  • Premature death
  • Osteoarthritis and joint disease

However, BMI is one of the tools used to calculate healthy risk. While evaluating health risk, other factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol level, blood sugar level, family history of heart disease, age, gender, waist circumference, physical activity level, menopausal status, smoking status are also taken into consideration.

Can BMI be applied to everyone?

For most people, BMI can be used to provide a good measure of obesity. However, it does not provide real information about body composition such as BMI, amount of muscle, bone, fat and other tissues. For some people, BMI is a more accurate measure of body fat than others. For example, very muscular people can fall into the overweight category when they are actually healthy and fit. These people with very low body fat percentage may have the same BMI score as an overweight person. Similarly, an elderly and weak person can be in the normal weight category when they have low muscle mass and a high body fat percentage. BMI should be carefully evaluated and interpreted when used for growing children and adolescents, those with large or small builds, pregnant women and individuals with high muscles.

Is BMI Better Than Alternatives?

Clinical Significance and Alternatives For those who want a better tool to measure health than BMI, the alternatives to consider are;

Waist-to-Hip Ratio: Ideally, the waist should not be larger than the hips. For men, healthy waist size is 39-40 inches with some waist differences. Asian men should not be larger than 35.5 inches. Unless Asian women should be around 34-35 inches. Next, waist sizes should be less than 32 inches.

Waist-to-Height Ratio: Similar to the method above, waist-to-height looks at waist circumference compared to how tall you are. Waist measurement should be less than half of the total neck in inches. That is, if the person is 72 inches tall (36 inches by half), their waist circumference should not be greater than 36 inches.

For some people, BMI can be important. Body mass index can be used to help understand the risk of developing the negative effects of being overweight, obese and unhealthy weight. However, there are other methods that are much more accurate for measuring health and risk of diabetes or heart disease. In short, BMI alone should not be trusted because this is just one aspect in a snapshot of overall health and wellness.


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