Journal

BMI: Limitations and Uses

June 10, 2021

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What is BMI?

Body mass index (BMI) is an indicator of body fat and is used to screen for weight categories which may lead to increased risk of health problems. It is easy to calculate, only taking in a person’s weight and height. You can use a BMI calculator like this one to determine your BMI.

Limitations of BMI

Although BMI is moderately correlated with measures of body fat, it is not a perfect tool. For instance, it does not take into account body composition (the ratio of fat to muscle), which can differ greatly across individuals.

It’s worth noting that the BMI scale was created using data primarily from white males, and there have been demonstrated inaccuracies for other races and genders, especially with regard to the thresholds used to categorize BMI results into underweight, normal, overweight, and obese.

However, BMI can serve as a useful starting point for assessing your health — it just shouldn’t be used as a sole measure of health. Other factors that should be taken into account include underlying health conditions, family background, and physical fitness.

Many factors affect weight, such as environment, family history, metabolism, and habits. To maintain a healthy weight, focus on following a healthy diet and staying physically active.

Where can I learn more about BMI?