First, let me be clear. Many fitness professionals debate the validity of the BMI. Some say it’s too simplistic and inaccurate. However others say it is a very reliable indicator of fatness used by doctors to determine how healthy one is. When in doubt, trust your eyes and look at yourself.
BMI is basically a mathematical formula that scales a person’s height relative to their weight. It gives you a range in order to determine weight status or weight categories.
The categories are:
- Below 18.5 (underweight)
- 18.5-24.9 (normal)
- 25.0-29.9 (overweight)
- 30.0 and above (obese)
A person in the underweight range might be at risk of having decreased immunity, malnutrition, or bone loss. A person in the overweight and obese range might be at risk of Heart Disease, Stroke, Diabetes, and Cancer.
The biggest discrepancies with BMI is that it can sometimes overestimate body fat in large frame muscular people and underestimate body fat in small frame non muscular people. However it is generally a reliable indicator of body fat. BMI is only one tool in determining fitness levels and should be used in conjunction with a health screening.