Using The Body Mass Index Formula – Over Weight or “Over Fat”?

How appropriate is it to judge our health and fitness using the Body Mass Index formula, a method developed over 150 years ago?

measuring body fat

When we are unhappy with our bodies we often obsess about the different ways there are to measure them beyond the tapemeasure and scales.

The bottom line may be simply that our clothes are all too tight, zips and buttons wont fasten any more so our bodies must have expanded? – Of course!

Perhaps we have chosen to ignore the bathroom scales, and how we feel and look, and are using a BMI calculator to obtain our body mass index and then starting a crash diet or exercise routine.

BMI is a Controversial Measurement 

Use of the body mass index formula (BMI calculator) is controversial amongst fitness professionals and trainers – read the following extract from Wikipedia which gives some insight as to why.

Wikipedia says….. The interest in measuring body fat was due to obesity becoming a discernible issue in Western societies. BMI (body mass index) was explicitly cited as being appropriate for population studies, and inappropriate for individual diagnosis. Nevertheless, due to its simplicity, it came to be widely used for individual diagnosis, despite its inappropriateness.

BMI provided a simple numeric measure of a person’s “fatness” or “thinness”, allowing health professionals to discuss over- and under-weight problems more objectively with their patients. However, BMI has become controversial because many people, including physicians, have come to rely on its apparent numerical authority for medical diagnosis, but that was never the BMI’s purpose.

Given the changes in our lifestyles, and the scientific advances made in assessing our health and well being, then it probably shouldn’t be taken as the best overall indicator of our health. A better way to judge ourselves would be to measure our body composition.

bathroom weighing scales


BMI calculations can be used in conjunction with other more sophisticated ways of assessing your fitness but better way to judge ourselves would be tomeasure it. You can now buy body fat scales for use at home, which, provided they are used correctly can give you a reasonable idea of your body fat.

healthy diet and regular exercise are key to a fit and healthy, body and to maintaining a healthy, appropriate weight for you. Its a mistake to take into account weight alone if you are starting a weight management program, because you actually want to lose body fat and not just body weight.

Back from Body Mass Index Formula to healthy Lifestyle Success home page

What is Body Composition and Why Should You Care?

Measuring Body Composition is Better Than Checking Your Weight

How To Calculate Your BMI – Just Enter your Details, Its That Easy!