Is BMI accurate?

BMI was once the popular measurement tool deemed to be a perfect measure of health. The calculation accounts for one's height and weight and uses that information to determine whether they are healthy. However, researchers and health specialists have claimed that BMI isn't totally accurate. A study done at UCLA proved that many people who had an overweight BMI measurement, were in fact, completely healthy. Why is this so?

The BMI was created in the 1830s, a time without technology and vastly different scientific knowledge. BMI is an extremely simple system because there were no computers or calculators. However, it may be too simple, as healthy bodies come in different shapes and sizes.  

Another factor that makes the BMI inaccurate is the fact that it cannot differentiate between muscle and fat. Since a pound of fat takes up significantly more room than a pound of fat, they weigh the same but look very different. Hence, fit and healthy people with muscle may be “overweight” by BMI standards.

Additionally, two people with the same weight may live very different lifestyles, which the BMI cannot account for. People with the same weight may have vastly different body compositions, which the BMI inaccurately interprets.

BMI may be helpful when evaluating trends among populations, rather than an individual. A “ one size fits all” approach is not the best way to determine one's health condition. To determine your fat percentage and overall health, you can use a fat calibrator, or use a body fat scale, which can be bought online or likely found at your doctor's office.

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