By now you probably know that I think BMI is a useless way of categorizing people’s weight. It’s out-dated and misunderstood and has some serious issues especially for people who are tall, short, or athletic.
However, I understand the need for some sort of way of classifying people’s health risk based on body size. This isn’t to say that body size is the only factor to healthfulness. I contend that a slightly overweight person who gets a lot of physical motion in their life can easily be “healthier” than a normal weight person who is very sedentary. Measuring a person’s body fat percentage would be most useful, but is not really convenient. So people seem to be always looking for a formula that can be calculated at home without any special equipment.
Enter BAI, Body Adipose Index. This is a newish formula proposed for estimating a person’s body fat percentage using only height and hip measurement. Already, I am intrigued. BMI has nothing to do with body fat percentage. The numbers aren’t even related, but this causes a lot of confusion among people who think that the number you get when calculating BMI is supposed to be an estimate of your body fat percentage. Accuracy issues aside, BMI is not even intended to correlate to body fat percentage.
Here are my own statistics and a comparison of BMI to BAI. If you would like to try this on your own, this handy website can assist you. Take care to convert your measurements to metric if you are used to feet and pounds. (Google can help)
Height- 5’8″ or 1.73m
Weight- 165lb or 74.8kg
Hip measurement (measure at the widest point)- 39″ or 99cm
Based on my weight and height, my BMI is 25 kg/lb and I am in the “overweight” category by 1 pound.
Based on my hip measurement and height, my BAI is 25.5% body fat which is in the middle/low end of the “healthy” body fat percentage of 21 to 33% for females my age. Based on the mirror, this seems pretty accurate to me.
Of course I’m going to prefer the measure that is more flattering, but in all seriousness, I am definitely not overweight. I think one of these days I will have to do that body fat percentage test after all, just for the interest of this blog.
We all know by now that BMI May Not Be Telling The Whole Truth but could there be a better measure we could use to assess weight as a risk factor? I’d be curious to know your results if you try this out yourself.