Body Mass Index (BMI) is flawed - Deepstash

Body Mass Index (BMI) is flawed

The population-wide BMI statistics show that nearly 60 per cent of people in the UK and US are overweight.

BMI is the ratio of body weight in kilograms divided by the square of one's height in metres. It is represented as kg/m2. 

  • A 'normal' BMI is 20-25kg/m2. 
  • A BMI of 18kg/m2 and lower is underweight.
  • A BMI of 25-30kg/m2 is considered overweight. 
  • Over 30kg/m2 is classed as obese.

BMI is flawed as it only uses weight and height. It cannot differentiate between muscle and fat.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THEARTICLE

Fat cells get bigger when you gain weight and smaller when you lose weight. But the number of cells stays about the same.

Your fat cells are designed to store fat. When cells become full, the fat ends up in the wrong places, such as our muscles or liver, and that's when we can suffer from diseases such as type 2 diabetes. 

Our fat cells can expand to different sizes depending on our genes, meaning that health varies depending on ethnicity. If you go past your safe fat-carrying capacity, you will get ill.

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BMI is easy to calculate and easily scalable. For most of us, the higher our BMI, the more fat we tend to have. 

But BMI shouldn't be used by health care professionals as an accurate measure to inform treatment or advice. It has to be used with other information, such as fasting insulin and glucose levels, blood pressure, and a family history of metabolic disease.

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DUEL-energy X-ray absorptiometry or DEXA is the gold-standard method of calculating fat percentages. It is very accurate but also expensive and not suitable for use in population-wide studies.

Another approach is the use of body-fat scales, where an undetectable electrical current is passed through your body. Since muscle contains more water, it conducts electricity better than fat. A greater electrical resistance will mean you have more body fat. But they are often inaccurate.

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Anabolism

Anabolism is a succession of chemical reactions that build molecules from smaller components and usually require energy. Anabolism allows the body to grow new cells and maintain all the tissues.

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What is BMI?

The Body mass index (BMI) is a marker for health & obesity. It can be measured using the following formula: weight (kg) ÷ height² (m²)

BMI indexes:

  • 18.5> is underweight
  • 18.5 ~ 24.9 is normal
  • 25 ~ 29.9 is overweight
  • 30< is obese

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Obesity: The Facts
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 80 %of adults and about one-third of children now meet the clinical definition of overweight or obese. More Americans live with “extreme obesity“ than with breast cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and HIV put together.
  • Studies have found that about one-third of people classified as obese are metabolically healthy. They show no signs of elevated blood pressure, insulin resistance or high cholesterol.

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