Body Mass Index (BMI) is a metric to determine whether you are underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese, but it’s not an accurate measure of fat.
BMI is calculated as your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters, squared. A BMI less than 18.5 is considered underweight, BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered “normal,” a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is “overweight,” and a BMI greater than 30 is “obese.”
BMI is not an accurate measure of health and here’s why:
- BMI doesn’t take into account fat, and it doesn’t indicate where fat is distributed on the body.
- BMI doesn’t take into account extra muscle mass as seen in athletes and bodybuilders
- BMI also fails to account for differences in race, gender and age.
BMI calls me overweight in this picture when I was in prime condition – competition time, November 2013. In this picture I weighed around 198 lbs and at 6 ft my BMI turns out to be 26.9 and based on this number I am overweight. Clearly BMI is wrong in my case.
“Then why the hell is the measurement so widely used?” you might ask.
Because it’s simple, it’s easy to weigh people and measure their height. For most people, BMI provides a “reasonable measure” of body fat, but is not accurate for athletes (who weigh more because of muscle) or older people who have lost height, he said.
How else should I get my body fat checked?
CT and MRI scans can accurately measure body fat. DEXA scans, normally used to measure bone density, can also be used to measure body fat.Measuring levels of the hormone leptin can also be an indicator of body fat. Water Displacement/Hydrostatic Test , and Bod Pod Test are other methods. These tests are expensive and also not available everywhere.
Another cheap, popular and accurate method to measure bodyfat is using Skinfold Caliper. The Skinfold caliper is a device which measures the thickness of a fold of your skin with its underlying layer of fat. By doing this at the key locations can be a quite accurate representative of the total amount of fat that is on your body, it is also possible to estimate the total percent of bodyfat on your body. It costs anywhere from $4 – $10.
What’s healthy body fat percentage?
The healthy range for men is 5-17% and 13-24% for women.
|Body-Fat Percentage Norms For Men|
|Body-Fat Percentage Norms For Women|
No matter which way you determine your body fat, it’s a fact that too much body fat will cause one of more health problems if not dealt with. Please take control of your health and keep your fat in check.