Sunday, March 28, 2010

Study: BMI Fails to Detect Obesity

If you follow us on Twitter, read our blog regularly, or visit our site with frequency you quickly noticed that we oppose the use of weight and calorie measurements for those wanting to achieve a leaner, more healthy (fat-free) body.

Now, a recent study determined that there is a "A Massive Underdiagnosis of Obesity When Using Body Mass Index (BMI)"

What is BMI?
The Department of Health and Human Services has a BMI calculator where you enter your height and weight (in English or metric), you click the "Compute BMI" button and it returns the appropriate value. This value is calculated in the following two ways:

(weight in pounds * 703 ) / height in inches2

weight in kilograms / height in meters2

So, What's the Problem?
This seems like a pretty easy way to calculate something, right? The problem is that "the something" you are calculating has absolutely no bearing on the fat content in your body. Consider the following extremes:

It is possible that these two people have the same BMI. They only have to have some combination where the weight divided by the height is equal in each of them.

What the BMI fails to consider is that weight is irrelevant to measuring how much fat you actually have stored in your body.

How Your Weight is Determined
Taking an equal size of each, the following is true (ordered by mass/weight - density):
Bone > Muscle > Water > Fat

In other words, the guy on the right who may have higher bone density (good thing), more muscles (good thing), and perfectly hydrated (good thing) could weight as much or more than someone who has poor bone density, less muscle mass, completely dehydrated, but had 100 pounds of fat.

Please stop weighing yourself. It does a lot more harm than good.

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