• The Slim Habit

Fair to call BMI the 'baloney mass index'?

Is the Body Mass Index (BMI) a good indicator as to whether you have a healthy body weight or not? The short answer is ‘yes’. BMI compares your weight and height and is meant to be an estimate rather than an accurate measurement. BMI is the most widely used tool to identify whether you are overweight or obese.

The BMI was first used nearly a hundred years ago and has been used by doctors ever since. Should it be trusted? It is certainly the quickest and simplest tool available. Where it becomes less reliable is when the person has a lot of muscle. Manual workers, footballers and some athletes may have a high BMI and yet be very lean. The reason they register a high BMI is that muscle weighs 50% more than fat. It is quite common for a football player to have a BMI of over 30 and yet have barely an ounce of fat on their body.

It’s always a good to know what your BMI is. If you do then you can take action when you get near the weight limit for your height. If you are already overweight or obese, it’s a useful prompt to take action!

Here are the BMI bands you need to be aware of;

Normal: This is between 18.5 and 24.9

Overweight: This is between 25 and 29.9

Obese: Above 30

Your health is at risk if you have a high BMI, particularly from heart disease, stroke and diabetes. You might think that you have a healthy diet, but if your BMI is high, the reality is that something somewhere is out of balance. There is usually a good reason. You might think you have a healthy diet, but how much are you eating, and how much exercise are you taking? It’s worth having a quick ‘personal audit’ to check to see where the imbalance is occurring. Honesty has to be the best policy here – if you’re economical with the truth (with yourself), you’re the only one that’s going to suffer!

Baloney Mass Index? Not entirely fair. If you’re not a top flight sportsman or woman, best to use it as a useful guide.