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How Accurate Is Body Mass Index, or BMI?

What is your standard answer when someone asks you your Body Mass Index? Under 25, over 35 or no idea? Well if your answer is the last option, then you are one of those people who are not aware of their BMI. Knowing BMI is not a quite common but undoubtedly significant thing to keep your health balanced. Hence in this article, we will talk about everything related to what is Body Mass Index and how accurate is it.

BMI is a basic mathematical formula used to measure fatness of an individual based on his/her height and weight. Since many of the major diseases are caused by overweight or obese, it is necessary to know your BMI and maintain weight accordingly. And how do you know it? Simple, having a BMI of 25 or over is overweight. As per a research report, having increased BMI during midlife is indicates an increased risk of death.

What is BMI? How is it calculated? 

To know what body mass index or BMI is, you must first understand how it is calculated. The formula to calculate BMI is –

BMI = (Weight in Pounds x 703) / (Height in inches x Height in inches)

This means that BMI is a calculated figure of your size that considers your weight and height. Earlier, there was a chart that mentioned different height ratio and their ideal weight, based on which you could list yourself under large, medium, or small size. These calculations are usually asked by your life insurance company while issuing the policy to know the likelihood of your maximum age based on the data from thousands of people. But these charts were not reliable to label an individual in particular frame size.

If an individual has a BMI between 18.5 to 25, it means he/she has a normal BMI. If an individual has BMI less than 18.5, he/she is underweight. BMI between 25 to 30 falls under the overweight category. As per most of the measures of health, BMI is not considered as a 100% reliable test as the results can be thrown off by exceptions like high muscle mass or pregnancy. It can vary in growing children as the height changes as they age.

Today calculating BMI is way simpler than putting your math skills at test. You just have to visit the website offering online BMI calculator, feed the required details like your weight and height measurements, and you will get the result at one click.

So, is BMI accurate?

Generally, a higher BMI suggests higher risks of developing various health conditions linked to excess weight-related medical conditions like diabetes, liver disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, etc. Studies reveal that people with ideal BMI generally report having better health, both physical and mental.

Why is it not accurate?

You must understand that BMI is not a health measuring or physiological state measuring formula. It is just a measure of your size. Many people have low or high body mass index and are healthy, whereas there are people whose BMI is accurate but are unhealthy. BMI is a primary measure of the ratio of your height and weight, and so it should be treated as a primary measure, not the crucial one to depend on solely. The bottom line is, start taking steps to be healthy and aware of your health status by knowing your BMI as the first step.

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