What BMI should I be aiming for?
(BMI) Body mass index is a statistical measure of an individual’s weight in relation to his/her height. It is a simple index used by medical and fitness professionals to classify underweight, overweight and obesity in adults. Scientists and medical professionals use BMI to determine health parameters. Within each BMI category there is a range to allow for different body shapes and sizes.
BMI and benefits of having a healthy BMI
The higher your BMI, the higher your risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers. BMI is not a direct measure of body fatness; therefore, it does have limitations. It may categorise an athlete as overweight or obese, when in fact they have a low body fat percentage, due to their high muscle mass. In the older person it may categorise them as underweight, when in fact they have a higher body fat percentage, due to their reduced muscle mass. In children BMI centile charts are used to interpret BMI values.
BMI is particularly inaccurate for people who are fit or athletic. The higher muscle mass tends to put them in the "overweight" BMI category, even though their body fat percentages is low. BMI also does not account for body frame size; A person may have a small frame and be carrying too much excess fat, but their BMI reflects that they are 'healthy'. Also a large framed individual may be quite healthy with a fairly low body fat percentage, but be classified as 'overweight' by BMI.
A further limitation of BMI relates to loss of height as you age.