As a result of a new study conducted, scientists are finally admitting that body mass index, or BMI, may not be all that accurate in measuring the amount of fat in a person’s body.
While many people in the dieting world have long questioned the truthfulness behind the calculations, thanks to a research team from Michigan State Univeristy and Saginaw Valley State University those feelings of distrust are now validated. The findings are published in the March issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Medicine.
The study involved more than 400 college students, some of whom were athletes. The scientists measured their BMI and body fat percentage. The conclusion was clear that “the student’s BMI did not accurately reflect his or her percentage of body fat.”
The main argument against using the BMI index to determine if a person is overweight or obese, is that the same criteria is used across the board for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are an NFL player or an 80 year old man. The index also does not take into account the difference between muscle mass and body fat. Bottom line, it just doesn’t say how fat a person actually is.
A high BMI is thought to raise a persons risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other weight related problems. Even though the scientists concluded the measure is not accurate in calculating body fat, the jury is still out on whether or not this still holds true.
The scientists wonder that if you take fat out of the equation if the BMI could still be used in caring for ones health. Should a person with a BMI of 28 in their 20’s be considered overweight if they have significant muscle mass? Many athletes have large BMI’s but are not obese. Their large muscle mass is what tips the scale. The scientists suggest perhaps using classifications for different people/age groups to determine what a person’s BMI actually means.
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