What is the BMI measurement? Is it the best tool to use for assessment?
BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight issues that may lead to health problems. It is not fool proof, there are some factors that can throw it off, like age, gender and muscle mass but it certainly gives a good gauge to show you that you might need to make some changes to obtain better health.
A weight scale simply gives you the number of your total body weight, it does not break down the muscle and fat unless you are using a scale designed to calculate this (and there are potential errors within them). The scale is not a relative measure of your “fatness”, it does not say if you are underweight, overweight or on target. It is just a number.
Using the BMI takes into account only your height and weight, it does not take into account one’s body fat. The BMI doesn’t take into consideration your sex, bone structure, fat distribution or muscle mass. As stated above it does not separate out your muscle mass and fat mass. Someone with a lot of muscle will weigh more but take up less total space. This could cause a false positive on their evaluation of measurement.
As we age we loss muscle mass and the body fat typically goes up. The BMI may still register the same number yet you have more fat than you did when you were young. If you are able to track your muscle mass and body fat you can accurately determine if the program you are doing is effective.
Some athletic clubs or testing labs offer skin fold thickness, underwater weighing, or a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry for measuring body fat directly. These techniques can be expensive and often need a trained person to administer them. If you are able to get the same technician you have a better chance of consistency in your evaluations otherwise you may end up with variations.
One of the easiest assessments for whether or not someone is overweight is the waist circumference. I suggest using the guideline of: men greater than 40 inches and women more than 35 inches are considered overweight.
Contact Caroline Smith at 303 471 4725. You can visit her website at www.metabolismmagic.com to learn more about her services.