Is anyone else ever shocked by their BMI? I know I am continually shocked by my BMI and I do realize that there is a margin of error, but still I find the results very suspicious. The main reason why I am suspicious of the recommended BMI ranges is that I am continually told that I am 'over-weight', which I would say that I am, yet the recommended healthy weight ranges I find very strange.
A quick Google search for BMI produces lists of hundreds of calculators -here is one from the National Institute of Health. They are quite simply your weight divided by the square of your height. The results do not distinguish between male and female; which is again curious. The results then can be extrapolated very simply using the following:
- Underweight = <18.5
- Normal weight = 18.5-24.9
- Overweight = 25-29.9
- Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
Now I am 6'3" and my weight fluctuates between 205lbs and 220lbs. That puts me solidly into the overweight category. Now I am carrying a bit of excess weight, and ideally I would like to be in the range of 190-200 (195 would be perfect), this would still put me at the very upper limits of 'Normal Weight'. According to the BMI calculator the 'Normal Weight' range for someone 6'3" is 148lbs to 199lbs. I am not a doctor but when I was this height and running 5-10 KMs per day I weighed in the 165-175 range. I was very thin, and at my strongest and most fit I was closer to 185. I was still only in my early 20s at this point. Now I could not imagine being the height I am now and weighing 148lbs.
Based on my own interpretations of the results I have decided to list some well known athletes and their results:
Roger Federer - BMI: 23.3 Normal Weight -Upper end of range
Andy Roddick - BMI: 25.0 Overweight -Lowest end of range
Justin Henin - BMI: 21.0 Normal Weight -Middle of Range
Maria Sharapova - BMI: 16.7 Under weight -Middle of Range
Svetlana Kuznetsova - BMI: 24.5 Normal Weight -Upper end of range
Lance Armstrong - BMI: 23.7 Normal Weight- Upper end of range
Cadel Evans - BMI: 22.8 Normal Weight - Middle of range
Vincent Lecavalier - BMI: 27.1 Overweight- Middle of range
Joe Thornton - BMI: 27.1 Overweight- Middle of range
Sidney Crosby - BMI: 26.9 Overweight- Middle of range
Martin Brodeur - BMI: 27.0 Overweight- Middle of range
Derek Jeter - BMI: 24.4 Normal Weight- Upper end of range
Alex Rodriguez - BMI: 28.1 Overweight- Middle of range
Ronaldo - BMI: 24.5 Normal Weight- Upper end of range
David Beckham - BMI: 22.4 Normal Weight- Middle of range
I don't really think that I need to go on. Even cyclists such as Lance Armstrong and Cadel Evans are in the middle of the healthy range. It is much easier for women to be in the healthy range as it does not differentiate between the sexes, yet I would not expect a 5'7" woman to weigh the same as a 5'7" man.
I did not bother to do any football (American) players as one could guess that it would be difficult to find any players in the normal range. I think it is pretty clear that any male athlete who is not in an endurance sport will fall in the upper end of normal or into the overweight category.
I think this will just prove that BMI alone does not do much to determine ones health. I am not going to judge my weight based on BMI, but rather on how comfortably I can run/ski/walk etc... Because these numbers just don't make me believe that it is a valid way to determine weight ranges.