Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of your body weight in comparison to your height.
The following are commonly accepted ranges:
- <18.5 Underweight
- 18.5-24.9 Ideal weight
- >25 Overweight
- >30 Obese
What Does BMI Really Mean?
What does your BMI actually tell you about your body?
You may have seen news articles with statistics claiming that a certain percentage of people in a state or country are obese.
Newspapers generally cite surveys using BMI in these figures.
When measuring hundreds or thousands of people’s body compositions, BMI is one of the quickest ways to figure out how many people are overweight.
However, your BMI doesn’t tell you anything about your body composition.
For athletes or people with higher than average amounts of muscle mass, it’s easy to trend toward the upper end of the ideal range or even be considered overweight by BMI because muscle is denser than fat.
On the other side of the scale, long-distance runners are often incredibly lean, and BMI might not be an accurate reflection of how healthy they are.
Elderly individuals, pregnant women, and children also don’t fit into the standard BMI ranges.
Who Is BMI Good For?
If you are overweight or obese, your BMI can be a tool to track your body weight and can be used to set realistic targets for your weight loss.
For instance, if you are 5’6″ and you want to be 110 lbs, this would put your BMI under your target range for your height and is likely not a realistic target.
Alternatives to BMI
Instead of relying solely on BMI to measure your fitness levels, you can use other tools like measuring your cardiovascular fitness or resting heart rate.
As long as you eat healthily, set fitness goals for yourself, and exercise regularly, you should be able to reach your target fitness level and weight.
You can use your BMI as a rough guideline to monitor your fitness progress or to set goals for yourself. However, if you’re somebody with more muscle than average or fit into one of the categories listed above, your BMI may not accurately measure your fitness level.