Cavemen were certainly not all the same size and shape, but it’s unlikely they looked like some of the most obese or anorexic members of our society today.
The idea of having an easy way to find out where you stand in terms of being overweight, underweight or right smack in the middle is appealing to everyone.
It’s simple, too. You can find a body mass index chart (or one of the many smartphone apps), match up your sex, age, height and weight and—presto!— you will see a number that tells you where you land on a body mass scale.
Too good to be true? You’d better believe it. Here is the fun math part that determines how the numbers are calculated:
BMI = kg/m2,
where “kg” is your weight in kilograms and “m” is your height in meters.
But what do you do with the resulting number? According to guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, BMI relates weight to health.
If it falls below 18.5 then you are considered underweight, between 18.5 and 24.9 brings you to the normal range, 25 to 29.9 makes you overweight, and if the number is greater than 30, then you fall into the obese category.
Here’s the catch: According to the figures, a woman who weighs 83.9 kg and is 1.65 meters tall is considered obese no matter what she looks like. Whether she has a very delicate skeletal structure or a robust one, 5% body fat or 40% body fat, it doesn’t matter.
That doesn’t seem right, does it? If you have a normal build and a low ratio of body fat to muscle then this might be good for you.
If you work out and have a decent amount of muscle and a little padding on top of that, forget this whole crazy idea of a BMI and calculate your body fat instead.
An accurate measure of body fat will give you a much better idea of where you stand when it comes to being over- or under-weight.
While it does matter how much fat you are carrying around, it is best to have a healthy lifestyle and a positive body image than to live life by a number.
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