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Why BMI Isn't Enough to Help You Understand Your Health

Why BMI Isn't Enough to Help You Understand Your Health

Body mass index, or BMI, has been a standard in determining your health and wellness for years. An equation that included both your height and weight determined whether you were healthy or doomed to be obese. However, BMI isn’t as accurate as many always thought. It seems there are other factors at play when determining your body’s wellness.

At Shine Health and Wellness, our team works hard to provide you with expert and compassionate care, especially when it comes to your weight. Dr. Kimberley Shine is our family and functional medicine specialist. Dr. Shine offers many services, including body composition testing, to keep you looking and feeling your best.

Understanding BMI

Body mass index has long been the gold standard of determining if you’re overweight and your need to lose excess pounds. However, BMI is proving to be wrong in a number of different cases. The truth is, it isn’t just about your height related to your weight.

So how is your BMI calculated? Your BMI is determined through a calculation of your height and weight. In pounds, you divide your number by your height in inches. The number is then squared and multiplied by 703. This gets you to a number within these four categories:

Although this can show you a small snippet of your overall health, BMI isn’t the only factor that determines whether you’re at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease. There are many other things to take into account when determining your well-being.

What else plays into your overall health?

It’s no surprise that more than your height and weight determines your body’s health and wellness. A lot more goes into analyzing your risk for disease and injury, including:

Age

As you get older, your body changes, and you naturally have more fat stored in your body. This isn’t always a bad thing though, especially as you keep climbing in age. Having a little excess fat when you’re older can actually be helpful, but keep in mind your BMI should still not be over 30.

Activity level

Looks are sometimes deceiving when it comes to BMI. For example, someone who is thin, but doesn’t exercise at all may look healthy, even though they have more body fat than muscle. On the other side of the coin, someone who is highly active could have a high BMI, but actually be healthier than the thinner, non-active person.

Muscle

BMI doesn’t take muscle mass into account when figuring out your health. Muscle weighs more than fat, so someone like an athlete or bodybuilder may have a high BMI number, but low amounts of body fat. 

Fat distribution

The location of where most of your fat is stored plays a huge role in your overall risk of chronic disease. If you have more fat around your abdominal area than any other place, your risk of medical problems is much higher than if your fat is accumulated in your hips, thighs, and buttocks.

Some ethnic groups also have a higher rate of medical issues at a much lower BMI than other ethnicities. 

What is a body composition analysis?

Your individual body composition plays a huge role in your overall health. Though BMI only determines your weight to height ratio, body composition determines how your weight is distributed. It takes into account your fat, muscle, and bone weight.

Body composition is a much better way to see a full picture of your health and fitness. It gives you much more information than BMI alone. Your scale and BMI alone aren’t able to determine what percent of your body is made of fat. Having less fat and more muscle is a pretty good indication of optimal health.

Dr. Shine uses a machine known as InBody to perform a body composition analysis. This is performed in the office at your appointment and only requires you to step on the machine and hold electrodes in your hand.

The analysis only takes about a minute, and your results are accurately displayed on a report from the machine. Dr. Shine then reviews the report with you and determines a plan of action if your body fat is higher than normal.

The truth is, your weight and BMI don’t mean everything. Your body composition is possibly the best tool to determine how your body is working and your risk of developing chronic illnesses down the road.

Don’t allow your BMI to be the judge of your health. To get a body composition analysis with Dr. Shine, book an appointment online or over the phone with our expert team today.

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