Invented by a Mathematician and not a physician in the 1830s, BMI was just a quick hack for providing statistics and not for governing an individual’s health. The 200-year-old trick no more holds value!~Mind you, we are in the 20th year of the 21st century
BMI or Body Mass Index has been extensively used as a tool by physicians and individuals since ages to estimate body fat and hereby determine the risk of diseases as a result of obesity.
If you wanna give it a shot. Use this BMI Calculator
18.5 to 24.9 = Ideal
Though BMI or Quetelet’s Index was never so advised even by its inventor himself. Later this parameter got picked up by insurance companies and households as a measure of obesity and further associating it to decreased life expectancy.
Till now you can find BMI charts hanging in your doctor’s cabin. Convenience can only be the reason for its popularity, as other more accurate means require special equipment and lab setup.
The BMI is recognized by NIH, with its limits clearly stated as to the overestimation of BMI in the case of athletes with more muscle mass as well as underestimation in the case of people with low muscle mass.
Shortcomings of BMI scale
BMI falls short on various grounds and the most logical one being scientifically nonsense. It makes perfectly no sense for the height to be squared to match proportions with one’s weight.
Also, BMI doesn’t account for waist or hip measurements which are major depositories of fats. Waist circumference alone can be a good measure of risk for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. The Index doesn’t account anywhere for the bone density and fails to distinguish between muscle and fat. This is a crucial parameter for Obesity and its pertaining risks.
Hereby an awesomely fit individual who workout regular and has strong bones, good muscle mass, and low fat can certainly have a higher BMI. No age or sex-based accounting has been done in the index though it creates a huge impact. All this creates a false air for profit-makers to breathe.
BCA over BMI
Precisely speaking BMI is a measure of adipose tissue rather body fat, as it accounts for both muscles and fat. A more precise tool can be a Body Composition Analysis or BCA. You can get one done, across several test labs and Gyms over the world and in India. The service can be availed free as well, by organizations trying to advertise and sell other health services.
Getting a BCA is the most precise approach to get a detailed analysis of fat vs muscle mass. It also gives you a clear picture of how much fat is deposited in which areas of your body. Hence enables you to focus on your target areas and achieve your lean body goals.
Apart from BCA, several other techniques like underwater weighing and skinfold caliper measurements can be worth try as well if it entices you. While an easy way to gauge will be measuring around your waist and hip.
A quick and cost-effective way to have a watch on your weight can be, wrapping a measuring tape around the narrowest part of your waist, starting at the hip bone. Make sure to exhale, not to hold your breathe and align the tape straight across your body.
The recommended measurement for men is 40 inches around the waist, while it is 35 inches for women. The difference being that a male body acquires fat in the waist area while a female body, over the hips.
Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR)
Another interesting way would be to divide the thinnest waist by widest hip measure. According to WHO a healthy WHR being 0.9 or less in men and 0.85 or less for women. A deviation from these can be considered as a call to action.
Action over Reaction
While consciousness on knowing your body is a good place to start. You need to pace it up with actions as well. One can’t stress enough about adopting a healthy lifestyle. A good companion on this journey can be fitness trackers which can enable you to get deeper insights into your daily activities and even suggest counters to make your day healthier.