Underweight BMI 18.49 and below
Normal Range BMI 18.50 – 24.99
Overweight BMI 25.00 – 29.99
Moderate Obesity BMI 30.00 – 34.99
Severe Obesity BMI 35.00 – 39.99
Very Severe Obesity BMI 40.00 and above
What is BMI and what does it mean for you?
The BMI, a measurement of Body Mass (BMI stands for Body Mass Index) has seen increasing publicity since the concerns about America’s growing obesity problem have come to the forefront. The BMI is an easy way of quantifying a nation’s healthiness in terms of weight to height ratio.
But this is exactly where America has a problem. It is because it is easy that the BMI calculator is so dangerous. And I specifically call it dangerous because of three reasons.
First, off the BMI is dangerous because it is discouraging. A person struggling with a weight problem (greater than 25 BMI), especially a severe weight problem (more than 30) that sets the goal of dropping to the middle of “healthy” will find themselves looking at a tremendous task that will probably seem insurmountable. A 5’ 10” person is clinically obese according to BMI at 213 lbs.
If this person found themselves wanting to reach the mid-ranger healthy level he is looking at an astounding weight loss to 152 lbs. That is almost a 29% loss!!! This can be daunting.
But it can also lead people to unsafe health practices. Trying to lose too much weight, too fast, trying to aim for a weight that may not be safe for their build, and not appreciating the weight loss that they have accomplished.
Take that same 5’ 10” person that is “obese” according to the calculator at 213 lbs. If he thought he should be on the low end of the spectrum according to America’s recommendations he would set his goal at 136 lbs!
That would be “healthy” according to BMI, but obviously unhealthy for this person. Imagine if they have broad shoulders! This could even lead to perception based on statistics, and a terrible self-image because one is 26 not 25 BMI.
Finally, BMI is just too simple. There are so many variables. Of course the obvious ones, pregnant women, children, and body builders. But simply working out an hour a day throws off the calculator severely. It doesn’t take into account your bone structure or your nationality.
Most importantly to me, it sets an arbitrary line in the sand where a person goes from normal to overweight, and then into obese.
Overall, it’s great for statistics. But for your weight loss goals, please don’t fall into the BMI trap.