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BMI May be Just a Number

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According to the World Health Organization,
  • a BMI of less than 18.5 is Underweight
  • a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is Normal weight
  • a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9 is Overweight
  • a BMI between 30.0 and 34.9 is Class I Obesity
  • a BMI between 35 and 39.9 is Class II Obesity
  • a BMI greater than 40 is Class III or Morbid Obesity

The body mass index was designed as a statistical tool for researchers and never as a gauge for wellness.

After years of research, experts have concluded that although the Body Mass Index is useful in statistical research, it has a number of limitations. The limitations include:

  • The body mass index measures an individual's total body weight and not the actual amount of fat. The amount of fat, muscle mass, bone structure and total body water all contribute to the total body weight. Very athletic individuals (with well built muscles) or individuals with a heavy bone structure will therefore, have a BMI that puts them in the overweight category when they aren't. Why? Simply because muscle and bone weigh much more than fat. 
  • The BMI is not always accurate in elderly adults, who have often lost muscle and bone mass. Although their BMI might be within a normal range, they could still be overweight.
  • The BMI may also relate differently to various ethnic groups. For example, Asians may be at risk for health problems at a lower BMI than Caucasians.
  • People who have a very lean body build or young adults who have not attained their full growth will fall into the ‘underweight' BMI category.
  • The fact that your BMI falls into the ‘normal' range does not mean you are in perfect health. A normal BMI plus truncal obesity (increased waist circumference) puts you at risk of developing cardiovascular disease as well as type II diabetes mellitus.

The Body Mass Index is not the end all be all to good health. Rather than relying on numbers to be in good health it more important to focus on such important things as:

  • Being physically active by exercising regularly
  • Watching your diet (reduce salt and alcohol intake to the recommended minimum)
  • Quitting smoking (if you smoke)
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Eating naturally
  • Substituting bad fats with healthy fats

Remember the focus should be adopting healthy lifestyles and not just on the numbers.

About the Author

kelly dilauroKelly J. DiLauro is the CEO of Dedicated Woman, inc., a company that provides resources to help women feel better about their bodies. Dedicated Woman offers an array of different products to address women's top health concerns, such as bone health, immune, metabolism and weight loss. Manufactured according to exacting quality standards, Dedicated Woman supplements are available for purchase on the company website: or by calling 1-800-513-6672.


Last modified on Friday, 03 February 2012 17:00
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