Bogus BMI Numbers

Take two numbers, height and weight, and come up with another number, Body Mass Index (BMI), and as an indicator of good health you have next to nothing.  The BMI fails to take into account physical features - as an example those with broad shoulders will have a higher BMI compared to those with narrow shoulders. There is no differentiation between fat, muscle, and bone, and it does not account for gender.

The BMI often changes as we age. For some it is lower, but that does not necessarily mean better health. Thirty years ago I was in peak physical condition and had more muscle mass than I do today; I regularly played rugby, two 40 minutes halves of pretty much non-stop strenuous exertion with no substitutions.  According to this BMI chart I would have been bordering on obesity and classified as unhealthy.

Today I have a lower BMI number, but I also have less muscle than I did 30 years ago. Losing muscle is part of the aging process; it happens to all of us.  I suppose I could sit back in comfort and point to my lower BMI number as an indicator of good health.

The BMI statistic is negatively biased against those who have more muscle, and the BMI statistic does not capture the positive health factor of strength. It is absolutely essential for good health to remain as strong as possible we age. Fortunately with a proper personal training program like the one we offer at Austin Personal Trainers and New Orleans Fitness Training those who are younger will increase strength and muscle mass, and those who are older can remain strong, slow down age-related muscle loss, and even reverse it.  When you add muscle your BMI number will rise, but you will be better for it.

More BMI posts here.