Don't Worry About Your Body Mass Index

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BMI (Body Mass Index) is the international standard for gauging a person’s health. This number is simply calculated by taking your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters.  Google any ‘BMI calculator’ to find your Body Mass Index number today.

However, do not assume your overall health is in jeopardy just because you are bumped into the ‘overweight’ category.  These numbers are categorized according to large populations of people, and do not take into consideration an individual’s body.  The human body consists of fat, water, and muscle, and the amount of each varies per person.

Generally speaking a person should evaluate their body fat percentage to determine their overall health risk.  For example, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was in his prime movie and body building days, he had a BMI of 37, which would place him in the category of ‘obese’.  But his muscle mass was very high, and his body fat percentage very low.  How would a BMI of 37 put him at an unhealthy risk when he was eating a very healthy diet and exercising quite regularly? BMI is all relative, and it varies by the individual.

A better predictor would be to examine your waist circumference, where abdominal fat can accumulate, indicating a higher fat percentage.  Ideally, women want to be <35” and men <40” inches.

Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

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