Do you know your BMI...and does it mean as much as you think?
Have you ever wondered how reliable those BMI results actually are?
When you go for a medical appointment, your doctor typically checks your weight and height, and calculates your BMI (Body Mass Index). This has been a requirement of Medicare and other insurances for years and is used as a measure of healthy weight.
In reality, this seemingly simple number is very flawed.
In general, the Index tells us in broad terms whether a person is underweight,
normal, overweight or obese. The levels have been loosely linked to risks for certain
diseases or conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. This number is used for
rating individuals regarding insurability, especially when it comes to life and disability
policies. As many statistics such as these are collected by the government, health
agencies and insurers, ultimately a “bad” number can be held against any one of us.
The actual number varies for men and women; however, broad ranges are
usually applied, making the measurement even less useful.
Think about this:
A BMI that is too low indicates risk of other disorders, but it ALSO unexpectedly correlates with the same risks that people with high & very high BMIs are subject to.
A “normal” BMI carries less risk, but here’s the problem: The BMI does not take into account what makes up a person’s weight.
For example, picture an athlete. Maybe someone similar to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, or Arnold S.
These athletes have a lot of muscle. You may recall that muscle weighs more than fat - so this same athlete has a higher weight than someone with less muscle - and muscle usually also holds more water, which means better hydration.
With the flawed BMI calculation, this athlete's muscle is actually increasing their BMI, because recall, the BMI is simply a measure of height vs. weight.
So a muscular person may
have a BMI well above the “healthy” range...
On the other hand, an
undernourished person, for example in a case of anorexia, frequently has less muscle and a lower body weight, but the BMI may calculate at a “normal” range.
In our practice, we pay more attention to the Body Mass Analysis.
This requires a special scale for measurement, but divides body weight into very important categories: amounts of muscle, body fat, visceral (internal bad belly fat), bone and water. This information can be obtained in about one minute and gives us the more realistic picture.
Let’s look at only one aspect of this: percent of the body that is fat.
Total body fat is a much better predictor of health risk.
Again, men and women have different normal ranges, but in general:
Body fat over 30% mildly increases the risks, including chronic and degenerative medical problems.
Over 40% is estimated to increase the risk of heart disease, strokes, diabetes, hypertension and cancers by about 15-20% over the next 5 years
And if the number is over 45%, that risk rises to virtually 100% over the next 5 years of not only these disorders, but many catastrophic events, as well.
By utilizing this information, we can tailor personal programs for our clients,
rather than applying general rules. We can work together to lower the levels of fat and raise the percentage of muscle, thereby reducing the risk of acute and chronic medical
conditions. All this, and we can do it safely, with a healthy approach, and one with results that can truly last.
If you are ready for your Body Mass Analysis and to get started on your wellness journey, contact my team at (732) 254 - 1003 today to make an appointment or to join one of our upcoming wellness seminars. I look forward to personalizing a plan for you.