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BMI Flawed?

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Old 03-14-2011, 07:16 PM   #1
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Default BMI Flawed?

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/blog/pos...s-index-flawed

Maybe we put too much faith in our BMI. I would be interested to know my BAI.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:20 PM   #2
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BMI is simply a height to weight ratio (with a gender difference thrown in?). How can that little number it comes up with tell you that you are obese if it doesn't know how much is you is fat, muscle or otherwise? I just doesn't make any logical sense.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:40 PM   #3
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Yes, we put much too much faith in it.

BMI wasn't designed for individuals but has been co-opted for them because it's very easy to measure and does have correlates with health outcomes.

If you're interested, here's a decent article about the history and use of BMI: http://www.slate.com/id/2223095/

One excerpt:
"Belgian polymath Adolphe Quetelet devised the equation in 1832 in his quest to define the "normal man" in terms of everything from his average arm strength to the age at which he marries. This project had nothing to do with obesity-related diseases, nor even with obesity itself. Rather, Quetelet used the equation to describe the standard proportions of the human build—the ratio of weight to height in the average adult. Using data collected from several hundred countrymen, he found that weight varied not in direct proportion to height (such that, say, people 10 percent taller than average were 10 percent heavier, too) but in proportion to the square of height. (People 10 percent taller than average tended to be about 21 percent heavier.)"

And later:
"Keys had never intended for the BMI to be used in this way. His original paper warned against using the body mass index for individual diagnoses, since the equation ignores variables like a patient's gender or age, which affect how BMI relates to health. It's one thing to estimate the average percent body fat for large groups with diverse builds, Keys argued, but quite another to slap a number and label on someone without regard for these factors."
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:46 PM   #4
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I've never thought the BMI was 100% accurate when applied to any particular individual but it's a reasonable range of numbers to give you an idea of how your weight is effecting your health.

A couch potato who lives on junk food but is a "healthy" BMI is almost assuredly not healthier than an active obese person who eats well and exercises regularly.

When I was 285 I was cardiovascularly healthier than many morbidly obese people. I certainly didn't feel morbidly obese, but I was really overweight and I didn't need a BMI to tell me that.

Yesterday I was "obese" and today I am "overweight" - that's an arbitrary division on a chart but it does show a progression towards what is generally considered a healthier weight range. Ultimately it's just a number, as is the one on the scale. But it's a number that can help guide you.

ETA: i just checked my BAI (http://www.intmath.com/functions-and...comparison.php) and, if my metric to non-metric conversions are correct my BAI is 33.4% which is in the healthy range. While this makes me happy it's still just a number.
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Last edited by Vladadog : 03-14-2011 at 11:44 PM. Reason: added BAI
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:32 PM   #5
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Default I couldn't agree more!

As a very short person (5'0'') I couldn't agree more. While, yes I've known that I am overweight, there was no way I was obese. I don't think I'm in denial, but even at my highest weight of 160, I still wore a size 10 without a big spare-tire flowing over the pants. Yet my BMI indicated that I was obese. Really, I'm not in denial, overweight yes, obese no.

My current BMI puts me at overweight, but my BAI puts me smack in the middle of healthy. My husband says I carry my weight well, which he meant to make me feel better, but I've known I've had work to do.

Heck, although my goal is 125 (barely a healthy BMI), I might just stop at 133 which is the weight I last felt really healthy and fit. According to BMI I could drop down to 95lbs and still be "healthy". In high school I was between 98-105 and I was tiny. Looking back I looked sick.

And I know that BMI shouldn't mean anything to me, but the truth is, it does. I feel I need something to look at in order to say - you did it. Or at least to not say "overweight".

Sorry for the rambling, but this new calculation just made my day!
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Old 03-15-2011, 11:43 PM   #6
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There are so many variables to the human body, I don't think it's fair to assign a number. I have one sister who is 5'9", (Kellee) her fat is squishy. My other sis who is about 5'7"(Lex) , even over weight, she is solid as a rock. Her fat does not jiggle. I'm 5'5", somewhere in between.

Kellee has a non physical job. Lex and I have very physical jobs. For me at my height, I'm good at around 145 to 150. I look good and feel good, and I can still do my job. The charts say I could get as low as 110. I'd be a stick that couldn't take out the trash at that weight.

What bugs me is that insurance companies and others have taken these math formulas and charts to heart, and if we can't meet what the chart says, we pay more. I bet you, I could take that little mathematical insurance guy and his charts, out back and whoop the you no what out of him.

Then there is the whole health issue. I have an uncle, who has never been overweight, eats right and gets plenty of exercise, and has horrid cholesterol. HE does all the right things. My Dh is while not overweight, has the most horrid habits in the world, loves fried food, bacon, gravy is a food group, smokes like a freight train and drinks like a fish, and his blood work, chest x-rays, etc. health nuts would kill for it. I'm not promoting what he does, just saying. Trying to get him to do better. I know it will catch up to him.

While the mathematical formulas can provide a guideline, they should not be the end all be all of what is healthy for each individual.
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:55 PM   #7
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woot! I like that BAI. According to that I am a healthy weight. lol I am a healthy weight according to waist-hip ratio too.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:03 AM   #8
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I've never given much thought to BMI actually-- I never felt it was a very good indicator of my actual health. I was proven right when I was in a biology class and we all were 'weighed' on what I like to call a "bionic scale." It was simply a very fancy scale that measured numerous things. We also used one of those machines you hold with your arms and it sends an electric pulse through to determine body fat percentage.

I wasn't surprised to find that my friends who were very skinny, were mostly made up of fat. They don't exercise, they are weak, but they are skinny. I would much rather have my curves and have a health percent body fat
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:10 AM   #9
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I checked out my BAI and I'm not happy. It says that with a 32" hip measurement my BAI is 23. That might be healthy but it sounds awfully high to me. I'd have to somehow get my hips down to a measly 30" in order to get my BAI down, and that's not going to happen unless I shave off some of my hipbones.

Grrr! I shouldn't have looked at the site. Now I have another reason to dislike my body.

Last edited by Magrat : 03-18-2011 at 05:11 AM.
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Old 03-18-2011, 01:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magrat View Post
I checked out my BAI and I'm not happy. It says that with a 32" hip measurement my BAI is 23. That might be healthy but it sounds awfully high to me. I'd have to somehow get my hips down to a measly 30" in order to get my BAI down, and that's not going to happen unless I shave off some of my hipbones.

Grrr! I shouldn't have looked at the site. Now I have another reason to dislike my body.
what??! the BAI number is not comparble to BMI numbers. Using the BAI graph, you are on the cusp of being underweight. I'm not understanding why you would want to get your number down further just becasue you don't like the number 23?
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:23 PM   #11
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My BMI is 22.1. My BAI is BAI = 24.1% body fat. I'm closer to the middle/top of the range in the BMI, closer to the bottom on BAI.
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalia View Post
what??! the BAI number is not comparble to BMI numbers. Using the BAI graph, you are on the cusp of being underweight. I'm not understanding why you would want to get your number down further just becasue you don't like the number 23?

You're right I don't like the number if it means that my body is 23% fat.That seems very high and hard for me to believe given my waist and hip measurements (22 and 32 inches respectively). I'm not squishy so how can I be 23% fat?

Incidentally I never put much stock in BMI numbers. For any given height there is just too wide a spread of healthy weights.
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:51 PM   #13
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Forget to add that I could never understand why a woman has to have any more fat than a man if she never intends to have children.

Makes no sense to me.
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Old 03-18-2011, 03:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magrat View Post
I checked out my BAI and I'm not happy. It says that with a 32" hip measurement my BAI is 23. That might be healthy but it sounds awfully high to me.

How can it "sound high" if you know nothing about BAI. It's like saying "Wow, 500 yen sure sounds like a lot of money..."

It's barely $6.00

You can't compare BAI to BMI, and you shouldn't choose a number based on what "sounds good" if you have no knowledge understanding behind it.

It's like going to a job interview as a waitress at IHOP, and when they ask you what salary you expect, you say, "How about $80,000 a year that sounds good."


People do this with weight too, and it's nuts, you need to know what the numbers can tell you, and what they are telling you, before you pick one because you like the number for no other reason than it "sounds good" It can only "sound good" if you know what it means. Otherwise, you're just picking a random number out of the air.
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:54 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magrat View Post
Forget to add that I could never understand why a woman has to have any more fat than a man if she never intends to have children.

Makes no sense to me.
Internal fat...we need more internal fat for child bearing!

Additionally, those figures (both BMI and BAI) are more than likely not accurate given your measurements. A good, fast and cheap way is to simply buy a $10 pair of calipers and manually measure your bodyfat.
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