BMI: Is It Still a Useful Tool?Body Mass Index (BMI) is a standard health assessment tool used fre
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a standard health assessment tool used frequently in healthcare facilities and gym settings. It has been used for decades as the go to measurement for health; however, it has been widely criticized for oversimplifying what being healthy means.
So what is BMI? BMI was developed in 1832 by a Belgian mathematician. He developed the scale to quickly estimate the degree of overweight and obesity in a given population to help governments decide where to allocate health and financial resources. The BMI Scale is a mathematical formula that determines whether a person is of a "healthy" weight by dividing their weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared.
So why is a commonly used assessment so widely criticized? First of, The creator himself stated that BMI was not useful in studying single individuals but rather in giving a snapshot of a population's overall health. In addition, the equation does not consider other factors, such as age, sex, race, genetics, fat mass, muscle mass, and bone density.
If there are so many factors not considered, than why do healthcare professionals and gyms still use the scale? Many studies have shown that a person's risk of chronic disease and premature death does increase with a BMI lower than 18.5 or greater than 30.0. So, due to most of the research showing a increased risk of chronic disease among people who are obese, many health care professionals can use BMI to get a general idea of a person's risk.