Originally Posted by carter
It's one tool, one metric, and it's useful as far as it goes. It shouldn't be given more value than it has, though. It's not a be-all, end-all metric of health for every person.
Averaged over populations, though, it has a lot of value. And for most people - people who fall under the big part of the bell curves for height, musculature, etc., it probably gives a pretty good indication of ballpark ranges of weights that are healthy versus ballpark ranges that are not.
And I suspect that a lot of people probably fall under the big part of the bell curves who believe, for whatever reason, that they do not.
I will use myself as an example. The BMI guideline puts the top of the "healthy" weight range for a 5'5" woman at 150 pounds. For the longest time, I thought, that doesn't apply to me; I could never, ever be healthy at 150 pounds. After all, I am built like an ox, with strong muscles and a very powerful core, and I have very large breasts. So I must be one of those people who falls outside the average range that the BMI charts cover.
Well, guess what? I now weigh 164 pounds, less than I've weighed in 23 years. And I have to tell you that looking at my body now, 150 pounds seems totally reasonable and doable to me. Looking at my body fat percentage (still around 28%), looking at my saddlebags and my belly, I can readily stand to lose another 15 or 20 pounds, putting me well within the "healthy" range for those BMI standards, despite all my muscle and boobs.
Now that I'm not fat anymore, I can see that I'm not as much of an outlier as I thought I was. While it's still true that the low end of the healthy range is not realistic or healthy for someone of my build, the high end most certainly is - that's why the healthy range is a range.
So, I'm less down on BMI as a guideline than I used to be. Applied to averages over populations, it's still a pretty useful measure of overall health. And applied to individuals, more people fit within the guidelines than you might think.