BMI is being frequently used by nutritionists and fitness influencers.
This post will help you learn more about it and it’s better alternative!
What is BMI?
The Quetelet Index was devised by Adolphe Quetelet, a Belgian mathematician in 1832. It was later named “body mass index” in 1972 by Ancel Keys.
It is a direct and simple measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height that applies to ages of 20 and over.
How to Calculate Your BMI?
The following formula is used to calculate your BMI:
Once you calculate it, use this chart to know which category you fall under:
If your BMI is out of the healthy BMI range, then your health risks may increase.
Is BMI Reliable?
“BMI exaggerates thinness in short people and fatness in tall people”
Nick Trefethen, a Professor at Oxford University’s Mathematical Institute, explained that BMI leads to confusion and misinformation.
She believes that the BMI divides the weight by too much in short people and too little in tall individuals.
The result is tall people appearing to be fatter than they really are while short people appearing to be thinner.
Also, BMI does not take into account the distribution of fat around the body, so the calculation is probably right for sedentary people, but definitely not for active ones!
Are there Better Options?
Several studies have shown that the waist circumference is strongly associated with type two diabetes risk, independently of BMI.
Dr Margaret Ashwell, a former science director of the British Nutrition Foundation, explained that waist-to-height ratio is a superior predictor of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
She claims that “Keeping your waist circumference to less than half your height can help increase life expectancy for every person in the world.”
Ranim Daw, MS in Cell & Molecular Biology
April 15, 2017