3 good reasons why you might want to ignore your BMI result

Would you ignore your BMI result?
Would you ignore your BMI result?

Trash that BMI test. Body mass index, once the gold standard for assessing a person’s weight – and overall longevity – has fallen out of favour for these reasons...

It’s ancient

“BMI was created about 200 years ago as a way to estimate obesity,” says cardiologist Dr Leslie Cho. But it doesn’t actually measure the fat on your frame. It’s literally a weight-height ratio, considering no other factors (sex, bone density, ethnicity).

READ MORE: Can Chia Seeds Really Help You Lose Weight?

It confuses fit with fat

Athlete? Have a lot of lean muscle mass? You could still have a BMI that qualifies as overweight or obese, even though you may be in great shape. According to a 2016 study, only 47 percent of people in the overweight BMI category – alongside 29 percent classified as obese – are actually unhealthy.

READ MORE: 3 Tiny Eating Adjustments That'll Help You Lose Weight Long-Term

It can’t fully measure health

On the flip side, the same study also found that more than 30 percent of people with so-called healthy BMIs have too-high blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation levels or insulin resistance, the hallmark of type-2 diabetes. Those are all better, truer tests of your actual wellness.

READ MORE: These Nuts Might Actually Help You Lose Weight

A far better gauge of your health?

Waist circumference. It may not consider things like ethnicity either, but excessive abdominal fat is a universal red flag. For women, measurements of 88cm or more (around the top of the hip bones) are consistently linked with an increased risk for chronic disease. And if you want to know your body composition, ask your personal trainer or dietician about a caliper test.

This article was originally published on womenshealthsa.co.za

Image credit: iStock

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 432 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
82% - 5378 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
11% - 726 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.