Updated: Jul 8, 2022
Body mass index, also known as BMI, is a calculation of height and weight that is used to indicate whether you are underweight, healthy or overweight. The formula for the calculation is weight (kg) divided by the square of height (m). This formula was invented in the early 19th century as an easy measurement of obesity for the mass population. It does not necessarily indicate individual fatness. In current times, BMI is used regularly to indicate if one has a healthy amount of body fat.
BMI does not take a few factors - such as genetics, lifestyle, age, gender, muscle mass and family history - into consideration when accessing the overall health and risks of developing diseases. You can be in the healthy range and be unhealthy or be in the overweight range and be healthy and so on. There are other ways that you can access your overall health.
1. Waist circumference: <35 to 40 inches
Fat is mostly stored in the hips instead of the belly/waist. It has been reported that women with waist circumference of less than 35 inches and men with waist circumference of less than 40 inches, often indicate that they are healthy. Bigger waist circumference would indicate excessive belly fat. This is a dangerous type of fat as it surrounds vital organs and will increase risk of diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
2. Muscle mass > Fat mass
BMI is not able to differentiate between muscle mass and fat mass. As muscles are heavier and more dense than fat, you may be considered obese or overweight if you have a higher muscle mass than fat mass. This often happens for those who do intensive work out on the regular.
3. Activeness level
If you are fit and active, you are most likely healthier to someone who is not, regardless of your BMI. Taking care of the fitness level is more important than avoiding fatness.
4. Metabolic tests are normal
Metabolic tests are done to uncover any underlying health issues such as cholesterol level, blood pressure, sugar level, etc. Regardless of your BMI result, it is always a good idea to get a full body check up to ensure that you are in good health or to be informed on what can be done to get you on the healthy track.
Although BMI may not be able to give an accurate indication of your overall health, it can give you a rough indication. It is important to look at other factors to access your overall health as well.