You’ve probably heard the term BMI at the doctor’s office or being discussed on health oriented shows. BMI is an acronym for body mass index. It uses the relationship between your height, gender and weight to draw a conclusion about how healthy you are or aren’t, based on whether you fall into a healthy category, extremely thin, overweight or obese. It’s a quick way to measure your health, but not always accurate. While doctors often use it, they get to see the patient and don’t rely strictly on the index. Insurance companies and others often use it and do rely heavily on it.
If you have a lot of muscle mass, you might be labeled overweight or even obese.
If you’re extremely muscular, such as a competitive body builder, you might be labeled as overweight or obese based on the BMI index. That can cause life and health insurance rates to increase, since the underwriters don’t have the option of meeting you in person. It often requires a picture to show your build. Why is the BMI so inaccurate in this case? The answer is simple. Muscle mass weighs more than fat does per cubic inch. So, if two people were the same height and weight, the one with more muscle mass would look thinner. Or, if two people wore the same size clothing and were the same height, but one had a higher ratio of muscle mass to fat, the muscular person would weigh more because of the extra muscle tissue.
Some people have a larger frame than others do.
You’ve probably heard the term, “big-boned.” While most people use it inaccurately, there are differences in bone structure. Some people have larger, denser bone structures. However, it only makes a difference of a few pounds, but those few pounds can push you from a healthy BMI category to one that’s overweight. It won’t add 20 to 30 pounds, so it doesn’t make much difference for most people.
It’s not the ultimate word on your overall health.
If you depend on the internet or the blood pressure machine at your local pharmacy to be your doctor, you need to switch physicians and go to a real health care professional. Identifying your state of health requires more than just your BMI number. Physicians use it as a quick way to alert them to look further into potential problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea and other weight related problems.
- If your BMI went from healthy to overweight or to extremely thin, it’s an alert to health care professionals that you may have an issue. It’s another way BMI usage can be beneficial.
- One measure of health that’s more accurate than BMI is measuring waist circumference. People with a higher waist circumference, even though their BMI shows healthy, are more at risk for a serious condition.
- RFM is almost as simple as BMI, and far more accurate. RFM is a ratio of height to waist measurement. It’s 64-(20x height/waist circumference) for men and for women it’s 76-(20x height/waist circumference).
- In approximately 80% of the cases, BMI does identify weight issues. That still makes it a good tool for doctors, where they can see the patient and have access to other information.
For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC