Weight or BMI verses Body Fat? How Healthy Are You?

How to measure your BMI
How to measure your BMI

Weight and BMI (body mass index) are universally used as a measure of our health. BMI is a calculation based on weight and height (BMI = weight in pounds ÷ height in inches ÷ height in inches X 703 OR weight in kilograms ÷ height in meters ÷ height in meters).

However, BMI does not give us very much information about our body fat. A high BMI tells us that we are “overweight” or “obese”, which in turn tells us that we MAY have a high percentage of body fat and be at high risk for many health issues.   “Overweight” is defined as a BMI between 25 and 30 kg/m2, and “obesity” is defined as a BMI greater than 30 kg/m2).

BMI is only a screening tool; it just tells us to look further for signs of diseases like diabetes and heart problems.

What is far more telling is our body fatness. A high percentage of body fat increases our health risk, regardless of our BMI. A person who is very muscular with a high BMI is likely much healthier than a person with a desired BMI but a high percentage of body fat. For more information click here.

The easiest way to know if your body fat is higher than desired is to simply measure your waist circumference. The fat that is found in your abdomen is the type that increases risk for heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases, so even if you have little fat in the rest of your body, that fat around your middle is a concern.

A waist circumference of greater than 35 inches for women and greater than 40 inches for men suggests a high amount of body fat and in turn, increased risk for chronic diseases.

How to measure:

Waist circumference: find the top of your hip bone (this is typically right at or right below your navel or belly button) and measure around your middle with a flexible tape measure. How to measure my waist.

As you work out and improve your eating habits to become more fit, your waist circumference is decreasing, you are losing fat and becoming healthier!