BMI: Is It Accurate?

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Many of you have probably heard about your BMI or body mass index. 

But how reliable is it? 

Charley Smook says he’s been active since his early teens, which is also when he first learned about his BMI. 

“In basic health class it’s your simple measurements, you know your height, weight and then it calculates your BMI,” Smook said. 

“It’s your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared. So, it’s kind of been used as an indication in underweight, normal weight, over weight,” Regisitered dietitian Lizzie Kasparek said. 

Kasparek says a BMI under 18.5 is considered underweight, while reaching 30 or higher is considered obese. 

In Smook’s opinion the calculation isn’t reliable. 

“I’m listed as almost obese, and I’ve got a 32 inch waist,” Smook said. 

The CDC says an average adult man’s waist circumference is 40 inches.

“It’s maybe not the most accurate number to be again looking at just as a picture of your health. Just because your BMI is over 30 does not mean that you’re not a healthy person,” Kasparek said. 

Kasparek says often times athletes with low body fat and high muscle can result in an obese BMI, when in reality they’re physically healthy. 

While a BMI is a good starting point for measuring your physical health, experts say more steps need to be taken. 

Kasparek says when calculating your BMI, it’s important to look at other health factors such as your body fat percentage and blood pressure.

“All those good things that are probably a little more important,” Kasparek said. 

She says by incorporating other factors of your health you will be on a better track to reaching your own physical health goals. 

For more information on BMI’s and how to calculate yours, click here.

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