BMI is a very simplistic indicator of fitness/health, and while it is very popular these days, IMHO it is widely overused and is rarely qualified in literature as the "ballpark
" indicator of fitness that it is
; nor does it mention in any literature that I've found, that the BMI indicator is exclusive of a substantial population of people. Any indicator of fitness that only
considers height and weight, will not account for body type, muscle mass, muscle and fat distribution, etc. A more accurate indicator of overall health in relation to body "mass" is body fat %
I know from personal experience... my body type is an outlier
when it comes to BMI calculations. Given my height, sex,and age, my lean body mass (total body mass (weight in lbs) - body fat (weight in lbs) is expected to fall between 70 and 95 lbs. In other words, this is the "normal
" range of lean body mass for someone of my sex and height. Each time (over the course of 25yrs) I've gotten my % body fat measured, I've have had a consistent lean body mass of 119-120lbs. That means, at whatever level of fitness (or how old I am), my total body weight - the weight of my fat, has consistently come in around 119-120lbs. (As I get older and my excercise levels decline, I should lose muscle mass...but so far I've remained fairly constant.) So, ... if my % body fat were 14% (equivalent to an elite female athlete) ( I wish
), by BMI would be 24.9 - or just under the "overweight" category. Two more lbs would put me up to a 14.5% body fat and a BMI of over 25... which is considered "overweight". And trust me...if I were anywhere near 14.5% body fat, I would not be overweight. A similar argument could have been made in the late 70's when I so desperately tried to attain the American Heart Association target weight for my height, which was 125. I would be dead if I weighed 125
There is nothing wrong with knowing one's BMI - and in fact it can be an inspiring factor to track while attaining health/weight loss goals. Just keep in mind that it does not take into account muscle mass. It's easy to get caught up in "the numbers"...and when I find myself getting discouraged by them, I try to focus on my strength...and all the amazing things my body is capable of doing.
Stay strong Turtlewoman, and enjoy the strength in you emerging...