With the New Year fast approaching many of us will be going through the motions of pledging with all of our heart and soul that we’re going to get in shape and lose weight, starting as soon as our January 1st hangover wears off. Of course wanting to live a healthier lifestyle is never a bad thing, but new research is showing that some of what we base our weight on may not really be necessary.
Since being developed by a Belgian statistician 150 years ago, doctors have been using Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine whether or not a person is overweight, with BMIs between 20 and 25 as optimal, but anything over 25 as overweight, and over 30 as clinically obese. However recent research is showing that BMI calculations might not accurate anymore.
According to an article in The Week:
Recent research has cast doubt over BMI as a measure of health. In 2006, a study of more than 33,000 American adults revealed that life expectancy is actually highest for men with BMIs of 26 – well into what was regarded as the overweight category, and equivalent to a whopping 24lb extra for the typical man. For women, optimal BMI proved to be around 23.5, almost half a stone heavier than the supposed optimum. Such findings are leading scientists to abandon BMI in favour of a simpler yet more reliable measure of waist measurement.
But if the old BMI scale is now off, would a newer version be any more reliable as a tool to aid people in their fitness goals? Many people swear by the BMI charts and base their whole workout routine around how much body fat the scale says they should or shouldn’t have.
While the new findings suggest suggests that men with a waist circumference below 40in – or 35in for women can breath a very slight sigh of relief on the “Am I obese” scale, no one is suggesting that people throw will power to the wind. BMI scales should still be used as a gauge to help you decide on how to best lead a healthier lifestyle and just because the wiggle room between healthy and obese may have changed slightly is no reason to fall off the fitness bridge.
As with most things, take the BMI scale and these new findings with a grain of Mrs. Dash (got to watch that sodium intake) and always develop a plan and scale that works best for you and your healthy lifestyle goals.
Sound Off: Does BMI play a role in your fitness goals?