You can see by the title of this post what I think about BMI. Let me explain.
Right now, I’m nearing peak physical condition for me. Not to say that it’s all that impressive, but I’ve dropped 20 pounds since moving to Tulsa two years ago. I can squat nearly twice my body weight. And those once-tight (like poured-into tight) 32-waist jeans need a belt now.
Some other things: As of Monday, I’m at 15.3% body fat, down about 3% since last fall. Not amazing, and I won’t be an underwear model anytime soon. But for someone my age, it’s well within the healthy range. In fact, it’s well within that range for men in the next youngest bracket.
Fitness-wise, I’m running at a level somewhere between half-marathon and marathon level. Again, not that impressive, but I’d consider that decent enough.
And my BMI is 25.7.
BMI, or Body Mass Index, records 18.5 to 24.9 as being normal; 25-29.9 as overweight; and 30 or more as obese.
I need to drop another 6 pounds to be on BMI’s edge of normal/overweight.
Wrestlers, boxers, football players and many other athletes my height but with greater muscle mass would blow past my marginal reading and be full-fledged overweight, and maybe even obese by BMI standards, even if they were at 10% body fat and could deadlift a truck.
So I’m just going to go out and say it: BMI is bunk. It’s past being a flawed tool of measurement. It’s fatally flawed. If someone is going to tell me that a chain-smoking, no-muscle-tone couch jockey who happens to be my height but weighs 6 pounds less than me is the healthier man (which is what BMI implies with its labeling), well, that’s ludicrous.
And in a time where body image among many is a significant issue (think adolescents and many women), the ramifications are even more important.
If we’re going to use BMI, it needs to be changed. Recalibrated. Figured in a way that accounts for more than just weight and height. As it stands now, it’s a tool so blunt that it’s not worth using at all.
On Twitter @RMHigh7088