Day: March 24, 2012

Effectively Utilizing the Body Mass Index

What is your Body Mass Index (BMI), and should it concern you?

BMI is as a number calculated from a person’s weight and height. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions, BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems. Basically, the higher your BMI, the greater your risk for the aforementioned health problems.

The BMI is generally considered to be successful as a health screening tool (particularly when considering large populations), but unfortunately BMI is not a very accurate body composition measurement tool. BMI does not measure body fat directly, it merely estimates using your body weight and height. Thus two individuals of the same height and weight will carry the same BMI rating regardless of their personal comparison of adipose tissue and lean muscle mass.

The bottom line is that while the BMI may be very effective at producing a general assessment of the obesity level of a given population, it fails to accurately estimate body fat levels for the average person. If you are interested in getting a body composition test consider a measurement of your subcutaneous fat using skin calipers, jumping into a hydrostatic underwater tank, or simply paying attention to how your clothes fit. All of these methods will fair better than the BMI.

If you have questions about how to plan your workouts based on body composition measurements, please feel free to contact Personal Fitness Trainer Damien K. Krantz.