Why Everyone Should Ignore BMI As A Health Marker

tape measure fork

A new study shows that the Body Mass Index (BMI) is truly crap! More than 54 million Americans classified as overweight or obese are actually healthy. Yet millions of thin people are wrongly labeled as healthy. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net and Mister GC.

A new, major study was just released that actually tested the accuracy of BMI against a range of cardiometabolic health markers. Thanks to our government’s reliance on BMI, more than 54 million Americans classified as either overweight or obese by BMI standards are in fact healthy.

This is huge, as our friends in Washington are looking to use BMI to increase healthcare costs even higher.

My BMI Number Vs. My Doctor
According to my doctor, I’m perfectly healthy. In fact, at my last physical, he didn’t see a need for me to lose more weight. I weighed 185 pounds and he felt any additional pounds I wanted to shed were purely for vanity. As far as he was concerned, my health numbers were awesome.

Why the clean bill of health when I weighed 185? My blood pressure was low but normal for more than a year. My triglycerides were low as was my fasting insulin level. And my HDL rose while my LDL dropped. My waist was clearly smaller than my hips, a physical telltale sign that I was no longer a candidate for heart attack or diabetes. Plus, in just over 3 years I’d dropped 145 pounds and kept it off. Woohoo!

But despite the good news, the federal government and my health insurance don’t share this opinion about my hard work to get healthy. You see, my Body Mass Index (BMI) is slightly under 30. But “normal” BMI is between 18.5 and 25. So I am considered overweight and not healthy because of this number.

But how can that be? My health numbers tell me one thing, yet my health insurance carrier and the federal government say another. Read More

What The Scale Won’t Tell You

Image courtesy of stockimages/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s been nearly 6 weeks since I broke out the tape measure to get an idea of what my body is doing. Stepping on the scale gives me a general idea of where I’m at on my weight loss journey – the cliff notes version if you will. But it doesn’t take into account body composition.

You can be skinny but out of shape or heavy and fit. The scale doesn’t tell me the proportion of fat in my body or where its deposited at. Measuring inches lost and body fat is a much better measurement of fat loss.

So how did I do since I measured myself in March?

Chest – 45″ (down 1.5″)
Right Upper Arm – 15.5″ (down 0.5″)
Waist – 44″ (down 3″)
Hips – 53″ (no change)
Right Thigh – 27″ (down 2″)
Body Fat % – 45% (down from 47%)

With the exception of my hips, everything going in the right direction.