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Health Sidebar II: BMI vs BFP

Posted Jan 01 2010 12:00am

James Hetfield.Image via Wikipedia
I've been wanting to talk about this for a while but didn't have the time (or had too much time procrastinating...just being honest). I'm watching Dr. Oz right now and he gave this lady her BMI. He said it was "32," which is supposed to be high.

To tell you the truth, I was never a fan of BMI. However, before I go into my rant, let me explain what BMI is...(click on the Read More link at bottom for more)

BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It is calculated by a person's weight and height. It does not measure body fat directly but it's good if you want an inexpensive way for you to get a good idea of your health.

Does that make sense to you?

OK, great. BMI is a cheap way to figure out your health (or not). But how does it help? Why would I want a number to figure out when I'm obese when I can just look in the mirror? Why would I want this number when I can just get my Body Fat Percentage (BFP). Basically, BMI is inaccurate. Just because a person has a high BMI doesn't mean that they're NOT healthy. If you calculate your BMI and it's on the high side, your doctor or health practitioner will have to take other tests to determine whether your high BMI is a cause for concern.

A great example of this is an athlete. They may have a high BMI but they may have that BMI because they have a lot of muscle (BMI takes into account muscle and fat...and does not separate the two). For more information on BMI, click here.


Before I answer this question specifically, it's first important for me to talk about weight. Your total weight consists of the ratio of muscle, fat, water, bone, blood (up to 7% of your total body weight is blood...check out this site for more details), and other minor factors. Technically speaking, this is called your Body Composition.

Body Fat Percentage is one of the most important factors in your weight. Too much fat (in ratio to muscle and water) can be very detrimental to your health...on so many levels (I'm sure we have all heard of the term 'obese' before...this comes from your body fat percentage).

Importantly, for women, body fat percentage is critical if you have fibroids or another reproductive issue because excess body fat creates excess estrogen.

The good news is that you no longer have to go through extraneous means to get your body fat percentage. Tanita is a company that makes great scales. They have affordable scales that can take your body fat percentage. For more information on this company, click here.

I'm going to leave it here...for now, of course. I'll talk more about body fat and how it relates to women in my next post. I think it's so important for men and women (obese, overweight, underweight, it doesn't matter) to know your body fat percentage. It will be key in helping you to gain, maintain, or lose weight in a healthy manner.

Until next time...stay strong, stay healthy, and fight dis-ease!

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