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What is BMI? And Why Do People Get Obsessed Over It?
Many people turn their weight loss or fitness efforts to a concept called Body Mass Index, or BMI. Body Mass Index measures your overall fat percentage on a fixed scale after specific measurements are taken. After considering these measurements and how they stack up to your weight and height, a number is assigned.
The body mass index, or BMI, invented in the 1830s. Like with many things around for nearly 200 years, it seems to have outgrown its utility.
There is considered to be one healthy range (usually anything under 25). This is what people strive for in their muscle mass and overall measurements. However there are some that consider BMI to be a rather bogus claim. This “one size fits all” measurement isn’t taking variances or body types into consideration. Here we look at why many feel BMI is not only an inappropriate measure, but even bogus in many cases.
7 Arguments Against BMI
Here are 7 of the top arguments against Body Mass Indexing.
Not Everyone Is Overweight
1.It lumps all overweight or obese people into the same few categories. The problem with this is that there are varying degrees of being overweight as the excess weight is often distributed differently among individuals. That being said, to have one measure for everyone doesn’t take body type or other related factors into consideration.
Does Not Consider Bone or Muscle
2.It doesn’t take elements such as bone or muscle into consideration with its measurement. To go along with the different body types, a “one size fits all” type of approach doesn’t take into consideration the fact that some people have muscle that automatically makes them bulkier. An athletic body type for example may make somebody appear to be bigger or unhealthy if you look at their BMI alone.
3.It improperly classifies certain groups of individuals. For those who carry their weight in certain places, they may be classified as overweight when really they aren’t. Genetics certainly play a part in how people carry their weight or even gain their weight and you can’t fix one number to everyone without considering all of these factors.
4.It wrongfully benefits the insurance industry through higher premiums, often times unjustly assigned. When insurance companies look only at a BMI as some do, they are only getting one piece of the puzzle and this is not a fair measurement. This can cause inflated premiums for people who have a higher BMI number but who are in all reality perfectly healthy individuals.
5.It acts as one overall average when there are varying degrees and special circumstances that should be taken into consideration. Again it goes to show that everybody has an individual genetic pattern, make up, and ways in which they carry their weight. If you only take certain measurements and assign a given number to it, you are skipping over the many other factors that describe a picture of a person’s health
Too Much Nutritionists Dependency
6.It’s a method by which too many doctors or nutritionists put their faith into. There are some doctors or even nutritionists who use a BMI as their main source of measuring a person’s health and weight. This may result in improper diagnosis or unnecessary treatment if other factors aren’t taken into consideration. While BMI can certainly be a part of measuring the health of an individual, it certainly shouldn’t encompass the whole thing.
What is “Average”?
7.There’s no such thing as the “average” man or woman that it is mathematically based off of. The “average” woman is a size 14 but that’s not the “norm” that you see walking down the street. The point is that there’s no such thing as “average”. Because that’s just taking the population and dividing lines among it. A person can weigh more in theory but then in reality may carry a great deal of muscle mass with them. When we deal with averages such as BMI does, we get into dangerous territory.
With a little research, it appears BMI may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Arguments such as these are important to consider. If you are to weight your entire fitness and wellness program on this type of one-size-fits-all approach.
Four more major problems with BMI, according to obesity experts:
- It doesn’t give you a good estimate of how much body fat you’re carrying around.
- It can differ drastically based solely on your gender. For example, a man and a woman with an identical body-fat percentage could have widely different BMIs.
- Just because you have a high BMI doesn’t necessarily mean you’re overweight. You can have a high BMI even if you have very little body fat, especially if you’re male and very muscular.
- It doesn’t take into account your waist circumference, which can be a good measure of your risk for certain diseases, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.