Body Mass Index, a.k.a –
“Badly Mislabeling Individuals”
We’ve all heard of BMI, short for Body Mass Index. In theory it gives us an idea of how much balance we have between lean muscle and fat. However, since the charts are PURELY based on height and weight, they do not account for many factors that give us a range. (My son Maxfield calls it “Badly Mislabeling Individuals.”) For this reason, PLEASE don’t take BMI charts seriously. We may use this info just as a reference point, but do not confuse it with an actual measure of health or of fat.
Here’s some of what BMI charts do NOT take into account, all of which can impact our weight:
- Age – Younger people tend to have more muscle, older people tend to have less, so BMI is misleading in relationship to health and extra fat.
- Gender – Women are supposed to have more body fat than men, and women have breasts so they weigh differently.
- Ethnicity – Different ethnic groups have health risks at different BMIs and can be genetically larger or smaller while being healthy.
- Genetics – Ectomorphs, endomorphs, and mesomorphs have different bone structure (and more), and the charts don’t account for those variables in weight. For example, it’s likely that all ectomorphs are considered in range, and all mesomorphs and endomorphs are overweight or worse. That would be true of all the blended versions as well.
- Fitness level – More active and fit people tend to have more muscle, so they weigh more.
- Body shape – Different shapes vary in health risk factors and weight can vary. A ballet dancer and basketball player could be the same height and both be athletic, and still have a huge variation in weight.
To read more about how wrong BMI is, please read THIS ARTICLE FROM NPR. To read about how it was invented, how it only included French and Scottish participants (all white, likely all men), and how it was never intended to be used as a measure of health, read THIS ARTICLE.
Nevertheless, it’s something that people monitor, so here is the chart below. We pay no attention to this in our office.