Same B.M.I., Very Different Beach Body

sos_bmi-jumbo

The illustrations here were created from scans of six people, who were all 5 feet 9 inches tall and 172 pounds. This means that though their bodies look very different, they all have exactly the same body mass index, or B.M.I. At 25.4, technically each of them could be considered overweight. (By the most common definition people with a B.M.I. over 25 are overweight and those with a B.M.I. over 30 are considered obese.)

How is it possible that the same B.M.I. can look so different? The simple explanation is that muscle and bone are denser than fat and some people carry more or less weight in their torso or legs. As B.M.I. factors in only height and weight, it sidesteps these differences.

This is a crucial shortcoming as some research now suggests that body fat percentage and body composition are more important indicators of health than weight alone. That puts the emphasis on exercises that don’t just burn calories, but also build muscle. This also means that, to get a summer “beach body,” a strict weight loss goal might not be the right path.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s