If you’re interested in health and nutrition, odds are you’ll know your BMI. Lots of diet websites offer calculators to work out your Body Mass Index so you can be easily labeled under, over, normal weight, or obese.
It’s long been acknowledged that your BMI can be dangerously misleading, but it’s become more notable recently with the furore over Nintendo’s Wii, which uses BMI to declare young children overweight. This week the Sun also published an investigation with readers and nutritionists bemoaning how easily BMI can fail to truly indicate an individual’s health.
The problem is that BMI focuses on height and weight alone; it does not tell you the ratio of fat to muscle mass and therefore people who are fundamentally slim often have a high BMI. Think of the English Rugby squad: they have a huge BMI but no-one could call them fat!
It’s far more helpful to take into account hip to waist ratio and muscle mass. And the great thing about high protein diets is that they focus on muscle and not weight. If you’re slim, feel fit and are medically fantastic, you’re certainly not a slave to the number on your scales.
As someone who sees so many people riddled with insecurities and confusion about their weight, I realize all too well BMI definitely does not help; thankfully the message has begun to spread.
10 October 2008