Oct 23, 2014

Does Your BMI Indicate You are Overweight or Obese?

BMI is a way to determine a person's body mass index by comparing their height to their weight.  This is used to determine if a person is at their ideal weight, if they are at risk for obesity or if they are overweight.  I have heard a lot of reactions to this tool.  The statement I am focusing on today is the inaccuracy of a BMI test.  If you would like to check your BMI, click this link and plug in your info. 



Each person should be aware of their BMI as it is an estimated measure of their risk for weight-related health issues such as Type II diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol, blood pressure, sleep apnea and more.  When a person is overweight their risk increases when compared to a person who is not overweight.  This statement does not imply that people within healthy weight ranges will have no health problems.  This statement just means that risks increase as weight increases.

My concern is that children are now becoming a tremendous trend in the obesity epidemic and they are now experiencing the health problems that their parents may have or that our adult members of society endure.  You will be surprised to see the stats in this article on The American Heart Association's site.  The percentage of obese children is astounding!

At work, there is an incentive to get screened each year.  This incentive allows us a discount on health insurance in exchange for having our BMI checked, blood sugar, cholesterol levels and couple other things.  The best part is we don't even have to go anywhere!  Our employer has them come to us so we actually get paid to know where we stand health-wise.  And we get the discount regardless of what the results are.

During the screening I hear a lot of people frustrated about their results.  Some may have high cholesterol or blood sugar while others are on the high end of the BMI ranges for what is considered healthy.   There are those who fall in the overweight and obese category but I do not usually hear them say anything about their results.  It is usually from the ones who may need to lose 30-50 pounds.  This is a general statement based on what I have observed.  This does not include everyone because there are even those who have a few vanity pounds they would like to lose and have commented on accuracy.  Remember, I was a weight loss consultant for years and I have been trained to not only be sensitive to people's feelings but also aware of the things people say because sometimes there are hidden clues that may be helpful.

The common frustration is that the test is inaccurate because it does not give a good gauge for 'athletic' builds or for bodybuilders.  While this is true, it does NOT account for body builders or athletes, I can comment that the individuals who *are* body builders or athletes are not complaining about their BMI.  Those who truly fit in these categories know who they are and know that the numbers will be slightly skewed.  Or tremendously skewed if they are as serious as Jay Cutler.

For those who workout 3 days per week, this is a good start but it is not going to put a person into the 'athlete' category.  Merriam Webster's definition of athlete is "a person who is trained in or good at sports, games or exercises that require skill and physical strength".  When I looked at the Livestrong website on how to get an athletic build it listed aerobic exercise, building muscle, nutrition and rest.



I would venture to say that people who are working out 3 days per week could be doing aerobic exercise which would be building muscle.  They may have nutrition and rest in order but I think it goes a little deeper than that.  An athlete is someone who could kick some major ass in one or more areas of a physical nature.  Their physical appearance is typically tone.  However, I can think of some people losing weight who would likely fit in the athlete category and could kick some major ass!  But these people are also aware that their BMI may indicate overweight or obese. 

When I hear someone say the numbers are off because they workout but they have a soft appearance and don't do some kicking ass when they workout, it almost feels like a defense mechanism.  It seems like those individuals may be offended by what the results show.  I just wish they would take heed.  Nobody is going to develop serious health risks by being slightly outside of the healthy range but the longer a person is outside the healthy range, the more the risk increases.  The further outside the healthy ranges a person is, the greater the risk and the shorter their time before some type of health issue may present itself.

The purpose is not to offend anybody and call them 'fat' or hurt their feelings.  The purpose is to bring awareness in order to take appropriate measures to get back into the normal ranges for health purposes.  Health purposes.  Not to offend. 

BMI can be a good gauge on health but needs to be combined with a physical.  The physical includes more in depth tests to determine internal things that we cannot see.  My hope is that everyone's physicals come back normal and if they learn their BMI is in the higher ranges, do not be offended.  It is important to understand that it is constructive in order to guide people in a healthier direction.

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16 comments:

  1. Yep, great info. It had to be interesting as a weightloss consultant to hear everyone's excuses.

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    1. My goal is to help overcome obstacles (and excuses) but sometimes it is difficult to overcome.

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  2. I think people get offended because it does seem like such a great range but I think it is really good for awareness. I know the high end of normal for me makes me feel really underweight, and people have commented so I tend to stay on 5-10 pounds over. I'm good with it though and keep my muscle.

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    1. I think most of us have a good feel for what looks healthy on us and it is best to be aware of things like looking/feeling underweight. It is true, the calculators are not always spot on and when you know you are not overweight, then you don't really care what the number says.

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  3. Really great post!!! I think we should put more emphasis on physical activity and getting kids to play outside more instead of staying in and playing video games!

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    1. Exactly! Activity is key. Most of us can benefit from the BMI gauges. While it is not exact for everyone, it is pretty accurate for *most*.

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  4. Stopping by from your stop by...ha! Great to meet you. I live in AZ too.

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  5. You are super knowledgeable! I'm so glad I found your blog! I calculated mine and my husband's BMI's and am going to stay on top of this! Can't wait to read more!

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    1. I am so glad you did too, and thanks! Actually, your blog caught my attention because it has 'wine' in the name :)

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  6. Awareness is a good thing. Great info.

    Thanks for linking up with Fitness Friday! Would you mind helping me spread the word by including the badge in your post or sidebar? Thanks so much!

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    1. Thanks and sorry about that Jill. I missed it by mistake but entered it the next day.

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  7. I feel that BMI tracking is off. It doesn't take much into consideration and is oversimplified in my opinion. I think it should take gender, race and activity level into consideration. Some people are just BUILT and SOLID by nature and have higher BMIs that, based on today's standard, says they are overweight but they are not. I just think they need to redo it. #wowlinkup

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    1. You are absolutely right! It can be inaccurate for people who are built solid. The one I posted above takes gender into consideration but it doesn't include race or activity level. I think activity level could be an inaccurate reading as well because it doesn't take into consideration a person's eating habits (in the event they are highly active but eat unhealthy).

      I think it may be difficult to figure some other method but I think it can be done by taking some aspects into consideration. I think those solid individuals should consider using a better method such as some other type of test such as body fat testing.

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  8. I hate thinking about BMI and what he scale says because I go into a major competition with myself. But, it is very important to be aware of where you fall and to keep all of it in check. Something I am currently working on. Slowly...unfortunately, but trying.

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    1. Slow progress is better than no progress!! I agree, sometimes it is easy to fall into ruts/competitions/etc when seeing numbers like that or on the scale.

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