BMI (body-mass index)...reliable, or bogus?

There seems to be pockets of people that absolutely buy 100% into BMI (as in, an overall way to judge one's weight being "healthy" by using height and gender).

Also, there are pockets of people that don't believe in BMI (it's too "generalized", doesn't account for muscle mass or larger/denser bone structure, etc).

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What do you, in an overall sense, think about BMI?

Please vote and elaborate as much as you like.

Thanks for your input. :)

  • Overall, I think BMI is reliable
    43% (6)31% (5)37% (11)Vote
  • Overall, I think BMI is bogus
    57% (8)69% (11)63% (19)Vote
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Updates:
Thanks to an answer by "WoodWizzard87", he has inspired me to ask a spin-off question to this one.


Link is below:


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Most Helpful Girl

  • BMI is just another way people can criticize someone for not fitting into the 'norm'. A lot of professional athletes BMI's are considered overweight and obese. The problem with BMI is that it doesn't take into account your muscle, so someone who has a lot of muscle mass will register a higher BMI.

    Also, BMI doesn't look at other factors that could affect your health other than weight. What about blood pressure? Blood sugar, cholesterol levels, heart function? There are so many other things to consider, and everyone is different.

    We each have different genetic factors that are going to make us more susceptible to something than another person. Doctors and patients have to keep that in mind and actually monitor things without solely relying on BMI as the sole health indicator.

    A person can be a good weight, but still have terrible health, and I think that is the problem. A lot of people who work out, but still register with a higher BMI are being criticized by the media and doctors for having a high BMI, when some smaller people are in trouble health wise, because everything looks fine according to the BMI chart. Yet the smaller people are having their health conditions going un-noticed, which can be dangerous.

    Also, someone like me who has a larger frame is being told by my doctor that I need to be this ideal weight. I have been close to the ideal weight, by 20lbs and my ribs were sticking out :S And I looked very bad. I also lost a lot of muscle weight, so it wasn't good. Some people are meant to be larger, not unhealthy, but bigger than others. Some people have smaller frames so they can weigh less and still be healthy for their frame.

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What Girls Said 8

  • Bogus.

    It does not take into account muscle mass or frame size.

    Many body builders and athletes are considered overweight or obese just based on weight to height ratio.

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  • Assigning a number (weight) is not the best way to determine if someone is healthy. My sister and I are the same height. According to the BMI, she is of healthy weight, and I'm not (I won't give numbers). I have much wider shoulders AND hips that she does. I'm very curvy, and my thighs are also naturally thick. My sister is naturally very slender and has a rectangle-shaped body, very little curve. If I weighed what she did, I'm positive I wouldn't look right. I'd look better with an extra 15-20 lbs. to fill out my curves. Even if my actual weight was supposedly too much, if I look good, and the doctor doesn't suspect any health problems with the weight I'm at, I think I'd be just fine.

    That being said, not accounting for bone density, body shape, and other such individual differences makes the BMI look silly, in my opinion. Body types are like snowflakes - each one is different, and so should be judged subjectively.

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  • I think of done acurately, it is probably a fairly good indicator, but should still be taken with a grain of salt.

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  • I think it's pretty reliable. It's not exactly mean to be a step by step guide or exact measurement. It's more just a general look about about how much you should weigh. Quite a few people have problems knowing just what range of body mass they should stick to to be healthy.

    Sure, you can go and work out and build up a lot of muscle but I think if you're that into working out you don't really need the guidelines as much as say, someone who barely ever works out but doesn't want to be too unhealthy.

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  • Apparently I am under weight because my BMI is like 17.3 or something. I'm not underweight yo :P I don't think it's very reliable.

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  • BMI is bogus it does not take a lot of factors into account .According to the BMI chart I'm overweight 5' 7" 160 lbs but there is very little fat on me .I 'm athletic fit large framed with a fare amount of muscle kind of built like a weightlifter but not as extreme.

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  • I know you like vanilla women

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  • The verdict's not out on that one for me at this point. I've had doctors who store a lot of confidence in it and others who don't

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What Guys Said 14

  • Penn and Teller did an episode of Bullsh*t about it. They showed how it fails in several cases.

    But that said, I think it's a good rule of thumb for most peoples body shapes.

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  • BMI is good for certain people, those who are really skinny since they won't have much muscle mass to make an error in the equation

    but if you are that skinny, you really don't need to say oh I need to check my body fat...

    it is some what effective for obese people as well (though it might not take leg muscle into the equation and tell you that you are even fatter)

    but for guys who go to the gym or play sports it is completely bogus

    it tells me I'm almost over weight cause I have a decent amount of mass (puts me at around 18-20% bodyfat when I'm more likely close to 12%)

    even for average guy it might not be accurate

    because that average Joe might be working in a place he is required to lift lots of weight giving him a great set of muscles in his quads

    and this is all when its done properly

    some people might not be standing properly when they measure thier waist (which is required in some BMI test, or do it after eating, drinking, etc..)

    they might have measured their weight with lots of clothes, or after eating, drinking.

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  • I find the BMI (Bowell Movement Index) to be highly specious as it fails to recognize the varying levels of legume intake within the statistical stool sample.

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  • BMI was not meant to be used to measure specific individuals but populations. It can give you a good idea of wether a population is healthy or not because it works on the averages.

    But it won't necessarily work for specific individuals. It was never meant to be used that way. -If you read the original research that produced the whole BMI idea, you will realize.- That explains why a very healthy body builder can have above normal bmi while a not healthy skinny-fat person might have a "good" bmi.

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  • What's with this false dichotomy of you must worship BMI or damn it to hell for purveying evil.

    It's a generalised, simple and quick guide. Any health professional when using it will qualify its use.

    Americans need to get out of this black or white mindset!

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    • Adjunct: The reason many Americans probably detest it so, is that so few of them fit within the 'healthy' stratum!

    • Cause ignoring that most of the rest of the world's medical professionals will say it's not a good measurement for health or that the actual research paper (as stated in this thread even) never intended its use to determine a person's health is totally not at all a reason people don't care for BMI eh?

    • Yes that's the point I was making. People who use it know it's not an accurate indication of health. So I don't see the sense in criticising it for not doing something which at its raison d'etre it wasn't designed for. Having said that, what I said about Americans is probably still true.

  • According to my doctor, I need to lose 20 lbs before I am healthy and no longer overweight. According to BMI, that number is closer to 60. If I lost 60 I would be a skeleton...

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  • It is something that can help give you an idea... but it shouldn't be relied on for all people. Not every person is built the same so its not really good for all people but it should give some ideafor the msot part on what is and isn't healthy. BMI says I'm far into the overweight section yet I look nothing like it

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  • Take me for example. I recently went to the doctor for a checkup with my ears, and they did all the normal tests, weight, bmi, blood pressure. I weighed in at 238 lbs on a 6 foot 3 frame, which apparently is 40 pounds more than what my ideal weight is according to the bmi index. I scored off the charts with my heart rate and blood pressure 61(resting) and 98/65 respectively. I workout a lot and have a somewhat physical job. He said I was a little overweight and should look into a diet. I then told him I'm a dietician/nutritionist possibly going back for grad school and I was about ready to insult him and ask him where he got his degree, cause he basically drove a stake in my heart when he told me I was overweight. I saw a stat somewhere where less than 6% of all doctors are given adequate training in nutrition/diets and obesity screening/management. That's absolutely outrageous.

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    • You inspired me to ask another question on this site.

      I'll send the link in a question update. 8-)

  • BMI is simply a correlation between your weight and your height.

    BMI fails to take into the account the effect of different body types, and lean mass vs. fat mass i.e. body composition.

    You could have a shorter professional bodybuilder that is extremely fit, thin, lean - in top physical condition. And the BMI scale will tell you that he is grossly overweight.

    Anything that can make such a horrid mistake does not deserve to be used.

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  • It's complete and utter bullsh*t.

    Fun facts: ''When he was in his prime, his BMI was 27-29, classifying him as overweight, yet his waist size was less than 30'' - Michael Roizen, MD.

    BMI is bullsh*t. It wasn't even created to try and create a scale to measure health on based on weight and height. It was just creating a scale of the Belgian people in the mid 1800s -_- Belgian people who are different in average food types/intake from every other person on the planet.

    So ya, BMI is bullsh*t. Putting any care into it is foolishly ignorant.

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  • It good for average people, but if you are not average then it's not too reliable. I have a large frame/ high bone mass/muscle mass so I'm always on the high end of BMI no matter how trim I am. I would say it's more reliable to look at measurement charts for body parts due to frame size/height. I've done that before and check different things from biceps to waist to hamstrings and I was either spot on proportional or within like a quarter of an inch on every single measurement.

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  • Muscle weighs more than fat so how does that factor in. There are a ton of things the BMI does not factor. A guy that is 6 foot tall and weighs 175 lbs is right on the borderline of being overweight...

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    • i heard that muscle volume is 8x as dense as bodyfat volume.

    • Yeah so in order to properly refer to the BMI chart you need to account for muscle mass

  • It can be pretty reliable.

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  • I think it is ballparking it with the average person, and to know for sure, more in depth tests should be taken for an accurate assessment.

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