I should be excited and I am, but I am frustrated too! Last week I got back to my lowest weight as an adult! I was surprised because I wasn’t expecting it. I lived in my happy bubble for about two hours then it slightly deflated…
I was entering my weight into my Fitbit app when somehow I saw my BMI (Body Mass Index). OMG, I hate the BMI!!!!!!! I mean like really hate it!!!
For those that are not aware, BMI is supposed to be a way for health care professionals to determine if you are at a healthy weight. Body mass index is calculated by using a formula that takes into consideration the weight (mass) and height of an individual. So if you use the formula, (Weight in Pounds / (Height in inches x Height in inches) ) x 703, my body mass index is 29.7, a classification of overweight and 0.03 away from obese.
I understand that when the BMI was developed it was used to study the population as a whole not individuals. However it assumes that everyone has an average body composition and let’s be honest not everyone can be classified as average. According to the CDC, the average women today is just over 5’3″ and weights 166.2 pounds. I am not classified as average since I am 5’1″ and weigh 157 pounds.
Recently, I was into see a doctor about an ear issue. The nurse, who one could see was struggling with her own weight, took me back to the room and took all of my vitals, she left the room and re-entered with a sheepish look look on her face and a sheet of paper. She handed me the paper and told me I needed to talk to my primary care physician about being overweight since my body mass index was 30.8. I actually laughed and said thank you. I felt bad for her because she didn’t want to have that conversation with me any more than I wanted to hear it.
What irritates me about that is that according to the BMI I am overweight and at risks for health issues. However, what about the fact that I exercise daily and eat healthy. How about the fact that I have run four half marathons in the last year and countless other races? How about the fact that I am in far better shape and much healthier than a good friend of mine who is 5’6″ and weighs 120 pounds (her BMI is 19.4). Yet, she doesn’t have to be concerned because she the “right” weight.
The last time I was in to see one of my primary care physicians (I have two, they do different things), she and I were discussing my weight and my BMI. She proceeded to tell me I was way healthier than she was and that as far as she was concerned if I didn’t lose another pound she would be alright with that. Wait, what, but at that time I was still considered obese according to the BMI chart.
So what I can’t figure out is why the BMI is being used as an indicator of whether someone is healthy or has weight problems if a lot of doctors don’t even believe in it. There are much better processes out there, we should start using those. I am a strong believer in body composition analysis where your total weight is taken but then it is broke down into lean mass (muscle, water, bone, and internal organs) and body fat. It is a better indicator, especially because it doesn’t make assumptions that everyone fits into a pretty little package.
Alright, rant over!
What are your thoughts on BMI?