What Your Body Mass Index Can Tell You
Fitness, Weight Loss

What Your Body Mass Index Can Tell You

Although BMI calculations are indirect measurements, they are called quite reliable indicators of body fat percentage in many people. The latest research on available BMI calculators proves clear correlation with other direct measurements of body fat levels, such as underwater weighing, though they’re more complicated. BMI offers simple calculations, so everyone can use them to find out more about possible health risks caused by excessive body fat percentage.

Other Available Methods to Measure Body Fat

There are other methods used to assess body fat percentage and lean mass level of people, and they are known as the body composition analysis. For example, some of the most famous measurements include underwater weighing, skinfold thickness and bioelectrical impedance. Underwater weighing is complicated, and many professionals prefer to use skinfold thickness to determine body fat percentage.

Bioelectrical impedance is a popular way to assess body fat levels, and it determines total body weight, the amount of muscle mass, body fat, water and bone mass. Its readings can be impacted by such factors as hydration levels, but this method still offers quite accurate readings. You can use body fat scales at home, because they employ this method.

BMI Calculators and Their Results

It’s possible to easily interpret all BMI results using a simple standard chart. For all adult people, they are interpreted as the following:

• If your BMI is less than 18.5, you’re underweight;
• If it’s between 18.5 and 24.9, your weight is normal;
• You’re overweight if it’s between 25 and 29.9;
• You’re obese of your BMI is more than 30.

It’s worth mentioning that BMI is always interpreted in different ways when it comes to kids, because special growth percentages and charts must be used. For instance, if children are above 95% of the same-age kids, they’re obese.

Specific BMI Limitations to Measure Body Fat

Although, there’s quite a strong correlation between body fat measurements and BMI, there are certain limitations that should be considered, and they’re affected by people’s athletic abilities, age and gender. They include the following characteristics:

• Older people usually have more body fat compared to youngsters;
• Women tend to have higher body fat percentages compared to men;
• Highly-trained athletes have higher BMI because of a higher level of muscle mass, and it increases body weight measurements instead of body fat.

BMI, Body Composition and Body Fat

Those athletes who have a higher level of their muscle mass should be a bit leery of standard BMI calculations. The main reason is that BMI numbers can’t distinguish different elements that make up their total body weight. For athletes, it’s better to use direct measurements of body fat and body composition instead of this simple formula.

Don’t forget that standard BMI calculations are used for screening the overall population for different health problems caused by having high body fat levels. So, it’s not a universal tool that works perfect for all athletes who want to determine their body composition that contains both fat and lean masses.

Different Health Problems Caused by High BMI

Number one reason why people use BMI to screen the overall health of the population is that there’s a clear correlation between being obese or overweight and having health complications, serious diseases and even premature death. When people are obese and overweight, they face the following health problems:

• Diabetes and high blood pressure;
• Cancer and osteoarthritis;
• Stroke and coronary heart diseases;
• Respiratory issues and sleep apnea.