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  • Bmi

    Hooray, I'm almost overweight!

    I am about to cross the boundary, according to the BMI calculators, from obese to overweight. What are the thoughts around here of BMI? It doesn't seem to take into account a person's structure, and I think that counts against me. It says I should be 203lbs or lower to be "normal weight", but I can't even fathom being that skinny. I think my skeleton and ginormous head probably weigh 150.

    Is the BMI realistic for all people, regardless of build? Am I just making an excuse? (I truly am large -- shoulders, arms, head, etc.)

    Long and short of it -- should I strive for 200lbs no matter what? Remember, it says 200 is the high end for me.
    Last edited by Laguna; 07-15-2011, 10:18 AM. Reason: trying, and failing, to capitalize BMI in subect
    6f4i, 40 years old, 85" wingspan, "big build"

    Feb 28 2011: 326 lbs (start date)
    Mar 28 2011: 299 lbs
    Apr 30 2011: 285 lbs
    May 31 2011: 274 lbs
    Jun 30 2011: 262 lbs
    Jul 31 2011: 252 lbs
    Sep 30 2011: 241 lbs
    Nov 30 2011: 238 lbs

    Goal: 220 lbs

  • #2
    BMI is pretty useless. It does not take into account body fat, muscle, bone, all that, so I'd say you might as well totally ignore it. Many athletes and body builders are "obese" according to BMI, even though their bodyfat is lower than 10%.


    • #3
      fun fact:

      most of us will not qualify for Whole Foods employee discount based on low BMI and low cholesterol

      Whole Foods to give greater employee discounts to workers with lower BMI, cholesterol - New York Daily News

      My cousin is in the military and regularly exceeds the physical fitness requirements while maintaining around 8% body fat yet his BMI says that he's borderline obese.
      Currently dabbling in: IF, leangains, Starting Strength, 5/3/1


      • #4
        Measurements and body fat percentage are probably more important. I have a BIL who's ripped, yet going by BMI he needs to lose 15 lbs. However, his body fat is probably around 10%. Now, my current goal is to hit the top weight of my BMI, which is 175 lbs, just to see how I look, and then I'll go from there. I'm one of those "large boned" people, and I think I looked best when I was around 170 lbs (and pretty muscular), despite that being close to the top of the BMI scale. However, I may need to be much lower than that...won't know 'til I get there!


        • #5
          BMI is completely useless as a measure of individual health. It was developed as a way to quantify population statistics.


          • #6
            On the Wiki BMI page there's an interesting scatter chart graphing BMI vs. BF%, which illustrates some shortcomings of BMI as a singular indicator.

            While I am still in the process of losing weight (down 23#, from 249# to 226#, 13 weeks), at 6'2" the BMI graph would say that the upper limit of a healthy weight would be 190#. That's simply untenable. When I met my wife in 1995, I weighed 205#, and she thought I looked too thin then. My goal is not a set weight or BF% per se, but rather an overall sense of fitness and toning: I'll know it when I see it. I think 215# would be a good target.

            Personally, I have a little excess weight around the belly which has crept up on me over the past 15+ years. Aside from that, I have pretty solid muscle mass without even working out much besides running and doing a little work with dumbbells.


            • #7
              I have a mixed view of BMI. On one hand, I just don't think it's accurate enough for many of the purposes it's put to: employer health insurance costs, "at-risk" indicators, etc. On the other hand, I think that BMI is a scary warning from an overall point-of-view in that ALMOST EVERYONE thinks BMI overstates how much fat they should lose. I think we, as a nation, have become so accustomed to the SAD that we've lost sight of what a healthy weight actually is. Take a look at pictures from the 40's or 50's. You'll see that a HUGE portion of the people would now be sternly warned by friends, family and coworkers that they are too skinny.

              So is BMI flawed? Yes, yes it is. Is it as useful as employers want it to be? Not even close. Is it wrong for very fit individuals with lots of muscle. Absolutely. Then again, for most people it does serve as a decent indicator that a few more pounds could and likely should be shed.

              As an individual indicator I think the old "Special K" test has at least if not more utility. Can you "pinch an inch"? While I don't think ONE inch is an unhealthy weight, I do think that much more than that is a good indicator that a bit more fitness is in order. My point, though, is that a pinch or two or a good look in the mirror makes a much better indicator of your personal health than BMI ever will.
              Life is short: Void the warranty.


              • #8
                Well I congradulate you I know I was excited when I got to overweight instead of obese. Of course I was a 289lb mom. Now I'm 178lb.
                Keep up the good work!!
                Had no idea I was so weak till I started walking in October. Could barely make it around the block!
                Now can walk on the beach for hours.


                • #9
                  Gunnk, there is definitely some truth to what you're saying, and if you look at the scatter chart of BMI vs. BF%, there ARE more correlations than areas of non-correlation. That doesn't exempt the shortfalls of BMI for some of the reasons cited, such as risk indicators.

                  The Special K test is pretty appropriate for me, because I can still pinch an inch, but I am seeing how much I can pinch dwindle visibly. Once there's nothing to pinch, I still would guess the BMI chart would consider me overweight. But I'm fairly broad-shouldered (48L coat size), despite not looking "thick." So I think I'll go along with the mirror test or the Special K test over BMI, although your point of our country generally becoming inured to larger sizes is an interesting one.


                  • #10
                    For those of us who are not super lean bodybuilders, who are more middle of the bell curve, the BMI charts are pretty accurate. I remember when I crossed the line from obese to overweight and then when I crossed into Normal-land. Those are big milestones in your journey and should be celebrated. We shouldn't let the shortcomings of the BMI chart with regards to statistical outliers negate that.

                    Yay you!