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Truth About BMI “body mass index”

There is a strong possibility that if you have ever set foot in a doctor’s office, you have heard of the acronym “BMI”, which stands for “body mass index”. Body mass index was developed in 1832 and known as the “Quetelet Index”, and it was not until 1972 it was changed to “body mass index” by Ancel Keys.


BMI is used primarily to determine if a person is underweight, at a healthy weight, overweight, obese, or severely obese. It takes your body weight and makes a correlation with your age, sex, and height to determine or assume where you are in regard to a healthy weight range. BMI is not accurate however in determining your body fat percentage but can help assess if you are in a healthy or unhealthy weight range, especially for people who are not that active and have a higher body fat percentage.


BMI has developed a deceptive identity however with people, especially those who are more muscular. Since BMI does not accurately measure body fat when calculating a “weight range”, it can tell people that they are overweight or obese which could negatively affect their perspective of themselves. This seems to be the most prevalent in teenagers when they go to get a physical or exam.


Many physicians in the west have done away with BMI usage because of the negative stigma it can put on a young person, especially one who is dealing with body image issues. The last thing a teenager who is an athlete wants to hear is that they are “overweight” or “obese”. Because that young person is doing some kind of physical training and/or their sport calls for them to hold some more size and mass, the BMI usage can give some not so pleasant feedback.


The BMI protocol should not be completely disregarded though. It does provide a great insight on healthy weight ranges and also shine light on the truth that if a person goes outside that healthy weight range that some serious health issues could arise.

On the flip side, there are benefits of staying within a healthy weight range.


Those benefits include:


  • Fewer joint and muscle pains
  • Increased energy and ability to join in more activities
  • Improved regulation of bodily fluids and blood pressure
  • Reduced burden on the heart and circulatory system
  • Improved sleep patterns
  • Reductions in blood triglycerides, blood glucose, and risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Reduced risk for heart disease and certain cancers

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