Is Your BMI Telling the Truth?
What is BMI?
BMI is a measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height, and applies to most adult men and women aged 20 and over. Essentially, BMI is a measure of relative size based on both the mass and height of an individual.
One reason BMI is still used so much is because it is a simple method that is both inexpensive and a non-invasive “reasonable” measure of body fat. Calculating ones BMI generates a number that classifies you as either being underweight, overweight, obese or a healthy weight for your height. Curious to find out your BMI? Visit Mayo Clinic’s BMI Calculator to find out what category you fall in. Are you misdiagnosed as being “overweight” or “obese”?
Did you know that many employers and insurance agencies use Body Mass Index (BMI) to calculate your perceived level of health? Bosses can make you do a lot of things and making you lose weight may be added to the list in the near future. Of course, they can’t force you to lose weight but more workplaces are implementing programs to incentivize weight loss and healthy lifestyles.
According to The Daily Beast they state, “About 18 percent of workplace wellness programs include some kind of penalty for employees who don’t get healthy—and a 2010 survey by Hewitt Associates found that percentage is expected to rise to 47 percent by 2015.”
Similarly, Medical News Today also reports, “Soon, if a rule proposed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is adopted, US employers will be allowed to charge employees up to 30% of health care costs if they fail to meet certain health criteria such as not having a BMI in the normal range (between 18.5 and 24.99).”
Now, I know what you may be thinking… What’s wrong with encouraging society towards a healthier state and combating the rising obesity rates in America? Truthfully, wellness programs and initiatives can be great if they are done fairly and ethically. However, the problem is BMI is not an accurate or perfect indication of one’s overall health.
The Shortcomings of BMI
The problem is BMI is being used as a diagnostic tool to determine if one is healthy or not. However, BMI does not accurately measure body fat directly so it should not be used as a reliable diagnostic tool. BMI is best used when it is used as a general screening tool. Some key downsides to using BMI as a metric of health include the following: factors such as age, sex, ethnicity are not considered. Finally, bone and muscle mass are not accounted for in BMI. With these crucial shortcomings BMI often makes mistakes like overestimating body fat, especially for individuals who are very muscular or physically fit. The phrase muscle weighs more than fat really is true. BMI can also inadequately categorize people as being in a normal weight range when they are truly not physically healthy. Check out these statistics from Medical News Today on the scary inaccuracies of BMI.
- 54 million Americans whose BMI classes them as overweight and obese are in perfect health according to cardiometabolic measures, while 21 million whose BMI puts them in the normal category are unhealthy.
- Nearly half of Americans whose BMI puts them in the overweight category (34.4 million people) are actually healthy according to cardiometabolic measures, as are 19.8 million whose BMI classes them as obese.
- 15% of Americans (2 million people) whose BMI calculation is 35 or higher – thus classing them as very obese – are also healthy.
Don’t Fret over BMI, Just Freeze
Here at Live Cryo we want to encourage all of our followers towards a healthier lifestyle which includes a healthy diet and exercise routine. We hope this blog helped inform you of the shortcomings of BMI and not to fret too much if it misclassifies you. No matter where you are in your health goals we believe cryotherapy can help you get where you want to be. Did you know cryotherapy has significant benefits for maintaining your weight? In fact, in one cryotherapy session 500-800 calories can be burned. There are also many other benefits of cryotherapy. Feel free to check out our full list of cryotherapy benefits.