Don't Worry About Your Body Mass Index

BMI (Body Mass Index) is the international standard for gauging a personā€™s health. This number is simply calculated by taking your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters.Ā  Google any ā€˜BMI calculatorā€™ 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 ā€˜overweightā€™ category.Ā  These numbers are categorized according to large populations of people, and do not take into consideration an individualā€™s body.Ā  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.Ā  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 ā€˜obeseā€™.Ā  But his muscle mass was very high, and his body fat percentage very low.Ā  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.Ā  Ideally, women want to be <35ā€ and men <40ā€ inches.

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Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

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