Welcome to this series about Weight Management. Enjoy the principles and I hope you learn something new. Enjoy the positive benefits of Weight Management.
When you think of the ideal human physique, male and female, what comes to mind?
Michelangelo’s, “Statue of David,” represented his view of the perfect male physique. But is there really a single healthy body type for everyone, and one that everyone can achieve?
You’ll be glad to know that the answer is most likely, “no!” This is because, although we are all humans, we are obviously not all made from one cookie cutter.
Medical professionals often use a tool to establish a baseline of health for their patients.
This tool is called the Body Mass Index, or BMI for short.
How does the BMI work?
It uses a specific formula to generate a numeric value that will give an indication of how healthy you are.
Here is the Body Mass Index formula:
BMI = Weight in pounds X 705_
Height in inches (squared)
BMI = Weight (lbs) X 705____________
Height (inches) X Height (inches)
This is what the BMI score tells you:
Less than 18.5 = You are underweight
18.5 – 24.9 = You are a healthy weight
25 – 29.9 = You are overweight
30 + = You are obese
But is this a true reflection of what is actually occurring?
The truth is that Body Mass Index is only a guide. As a result, those who refer to this formula must remember that it cannot be applied universally as a be-all and end-all for assessing health. This is because BMI has its limitations.
What are the limitations of the BMI?
It should not be used on growing children, as they often have spikes in height without a corresponding increase in weight, which would produce an abnormally low BMI.
- Likewise, the BMI should not be used on someone who is very muscular and/or athletic, as increased muscle mass will yield more weight. This then results in a higher BMI. For example, if you saw a weightlifter who had a BMI of 33, this would make him obese. However, you would be hard-pressed to make an argument that he is carrying a lot of fat!
So what is a better measurement of health?
Abdominal fat content is often considered a better measurement of health than overall weight. Fat stored in the abdomen puts you at a greater health risk than fat that is stored in the thighs. This is because abdominal fat can surround your internal organs.
What should you do if your BMI is too low?
If you get a lower score than is considered healthy (lower than 18.5), you may want to seek out medical advice to see if you are too thin. If this is the case, you should never force yourself to eat more to try to gain weight, as this will likely lead to fat deposits around the waistline instead. A better option is to build muscle to increase your weight. Muscle building activities can also increase your appetite.
In conclusion, body mass index is designed as a guide to assess where the average person falls on a health spectrum. Since humans come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, do treat your BMI as only a guide. Seek professional advice if needed and use a variety of assessments to determine how healthy you are. Then you can begin to take the necessary steps needed to achieve your own ideal body weight.
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Nick Thorne is the founder of NicksDigitalSolutions Limited, a company specializing in Education, Training and Writing. He lives in Levin, New Zealand.