What is BMI?

BMI stands for Body Mass Index and is a mathematical way of calculating fat with a height and weight equation. It is different for individuals over and under the age of 20 and is used by many family medical clinics to determine whether someone is in a healthy weight range or not.

Introduced in 1832 by a mathematician by the name of Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet for calculating the average health of populations, we nonetheless use it to do the same to determine individual health, which begs the question: how accurate is it?

Considers All Mass the Same

There is fat, and then there is muscle and bone; the latter generally weighs more than the former.

BMI considers all mass the same, so if someone of a certain height has a lot of muscle, this system will relegate them to the same category as a person with a lot of fat.

Sex and Age Are Non-discriminatory

While a very low BMI (under 18.5) has been proven to be an indicator of chronic diseases, it could use a lot of improvement because it does make sweeping generalizations about weight.

Weight Scale and Measuring Tape

Males typically weigh more than females due to more muscle mass. As for age, studies have shown that our muscle to fat ratio changes as we change, and there is no proof that a BMI takes these factors into account.

There is a threshold at age 20, but no measures to account for the intricacies of body mass of different individuals.

Does Not Take Ethnicity into Account

The BMI calculator is largely criticized for having been designed for Caucasians as it may not be the same for other races.

This is why the risk of high cholesterol, diabetes, and hypertension increases for different ethnicities at different cut-off points, despite them weighing the same.  

May Lead to An Incorrect Diagnosis

Say you are bigger than the average person and go to a clinic for high blood pressure medication, for which there are several reasons, including obesity.

A doctor who swears by BMI may never venture past your weight and tell you to lose weight, even though the underlying cause of your condition is stress or kidney disease.

Healing begins when you target the cause of your illness, which can be something other than the number on that weight scale.

The Best in Family Medicine in Sacramento

Our medical clinic understands how big of a deterrent weight bias can be. Our family medicine specialists know that not everything shows up in a scan or blood test; mental health is just as big a catalyst of diseases as physical health.

If weight does turn out to be the culprit of your illness, our physicians can draw up a weight loss program designed after your particular body mass.

Use our medical services to your advantage by making an appointment online.