Home / Wellness / Michael Quiggle: BMI is not the ideal body measure – News – GoErie …
Michael Quiggle: BMI is not the ideal body measure - News - GoErie ...

Michael Quiggle: BMI is not the ideal body measure – News – GoErie …

Body mass index should just be one of several measurements you should use.

Body mass index has been viewed as the gold standard for general health since it was adopted by the National Health Institute in 1998.

The concept of BMI, though not the name, was created in the mid-1800s by Belgian scientist Adolphe Quetelet. The term body mass index was coined in a 1972 article in the Journal of Chronic Diseases.

BMI, which compares a person’s mass and height, sets the standard for what we consider to be overweight. Using BMI, the CDC has determined that more than 70 percent of Americans age 20 or older are overweight or obese.  

BMI can be a helpful measure when taking a brief glance at overall wellness, but this should not be the number that defines your health.  

The main reason for this is that there are a variety of factors not taken into consideration when BMI is measured. Individuals who have an above-average amount of muscle may fall in the overweight or obese categories despite their great physical shape.

A strict BMI measure would put many athletes into a category they do not belong. BMI does not take into consideration body fat percentage. High body fat has a variety of risk factors including high blood pressure, high bad cholesterol, and higher blood sugar.

A better approach to assessing physical health would include measurements to supplement your BMI.

First, your waist-hip ratio can help determine if you are at higher risk for a variety of health issues, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Second, waist circumference can also help determine many future health risks.

Asking your doctor or personal trainer how to get measured for body-fat percentage could help to round out your health profile.

The BMI measure by itself produces a very incomplete picture of personal health.

It is important to incorporate as many different measurements of physical health as possible and consult your doctor about the best possible weight for your individual health.

Michael Quiggle is a public health educator for the Erie County Department of Health.