Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Body Mass Index

We like to keep track of ourselves. From daily schedules to private diaries, we are a society of record keepers and note takers. This tradition continues, and is especially important, when it relates to our health. We get our teeth cleaned every six months, visit the doctor for a yearly physical and we step on the scale quite frequently. But sometimes, weighing in just isn't enough. And that's where science has given us a variety of ways to keep track of ourselves. One in particular—the Body Mass Index (BMI).

Use the following equation to calculate yours:

Now compare your BMI to the chart below.

Some of you may be surprised to find that you fall within the obese categories. This is where I introduce potential flaws with the Body Mass Index. As you can tell from the equation, it only measures mass according to weight and height. And weight isn't just fat, otherwise known as adipose tissue. Weight is also your muscles, your organs, even the water in your body. All jumbled into one number. Your BMI might be higher because of all that muscle you've been building!

So here's my advice to you. Take note of your BMI and watch how it changes. It's a good tool for measuring fluctuations in your body. Forget about the number itself and where it classifies you, be more concerned with increases and decreases. If you're trying to lose weight, you'll want it to go down. And if it goes up, you're either gaining muscle or fat and you'll have to look at your diet and lifestyle to figure that one out.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

I heart your handwriting. "Write" more on your blog.

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