A Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple formula that helps determine the body fat value in an individual. It is calculated based on height and weight of the person and is a significant determinant of obesity or leanness.
The value that is calculated falls into one of the bodyweight categories -
Very severely underweight
Average (healthy weight)
Obese Class I (Moderately obese)
Obese Class II (Severely obese)
Obese Class III (Very severely Obese)
Often, the BMI value is used to determine the healthy weight of a person. However, it is observed that BMI measurement can overestimate or underestimate body fat at times. So, this leaves us with a question - whether BMI is accurate or not? In this section, we will be discussing the same.
While the mathematical approach is quite appreciated, the issue with BMI measurement is that it focuses mainly on the numbers. The calculations do not take into account several crucial factors that contribute to the overall health of an individual.
Lifestyle habits like smoking and drinking, diet, and genetics do influence anyone's well-being. Calculating healthy weight through BMI cannot be a definite measure or focal point of determining the overall wellness of any person.
As mentioned earlier, BMI measurement can overestimate or underestimate body fat. Thus, it can be highly misleading. The specific metrics of the BMI calculation do not adjust to the body type, age, race, or gender of an individual.
For instance, a muscular individual will certainly have more muscle weight than fat in their body. The build of this person may end up being categorised as overweight in BMI when, in reality, it is otherwise.
While it may seem that not using BMI altogether is our only option, it is quite easier said than done. As of now, we don't have any comprehensive health screening tools for doctors to evaluate their patients. A likewise method that can be used is abdominal circumference measurement. However, it is yet to be standardised as to where and how it can be used on a person.
Other assessment techniques, such as machines that measure body composition or underwater scales to calculate body fat, are quite expensive. Moreover, they are not easily accessible by everyone and show similar discrepancies as BMI calculations.
When considering the overall health of a person, BMI value should be one of many factors that are taken into consideration.
BMI measurement may not be entirely accurate, but it is still important for your well-being to maintain a healthy weight. Moreover, BMI value tends to affect your health insurance and term insurance premiums.
People have health issues like obesity, and other critical health conditions are considered to be high-risk applicants by the insurers in India. So, the probability of them raising claim requests in the future increases. Therefore, they are charged relatively high premiums compared to a low-risk applicant. The way to bring down your insurance premiums is to maintain healthy body weight and lead a balanced lifestyle.