BMI doesn't suck; people just use it wrong. It was never intended to be used to say, "You, Joe, are too heavy for your height and you're going to drop dead of a heart attack tomorrow." It was meant for calculating risks on a statistical basis. A large group of people where most of the individuals have a BMI of 24 will have fewer sick people than a group where most of the individuals are at 16 or 32.
It's like a speed limit. If the speed limit on your highway is 60, that doesn't mean you're absolutely going to crash and die if you drive 62, and it doesn't mean you *can't* crash and die if you drive 55. It means that when the engineers tested the road, they decided that for most drivers in typical weather in an average car, if a a cow wandered out onto the pavement or a tire blew or a crate of chickens fell off a truck, a driver going 60 would be able to recover and avoid an accident. If you're driving a brand-new high-performance car with perfect tires and you're Jimmie Johnson, you can probably be perfectly safe at 70.
Unfortunately, as you know if you've spent much time on the highway, a LOT of people think they're Jimmie Johnson in a showroom Viper when they're really Joe Schmoe in a 1998 Dodge Ram held together with duct tape. When I was obese, I could lay down on the bed and suck in my stomach and see my hipbones, and I told myself that meant I was "big boned" and the normal BMI was WAY too low for me.
If someone is at a BMI of 29 and has visible abs, it *might* mean they're very muscular and have nothing to worry about, or it *might* mean they just have less fat right under their skin and more deep inside where it doesn't show but where it does enormously raise their risk of obesity-related disease. The only way to know is to go beyond the scale and get a test that measures body fat (or to be brutally honest with oneself; if you are in fact a professional-caliber athlete with a BMI of 29, you're fine, but if you're a dude with an office job who works out a lot, at 29 you're probably not obese, but you probably do have a little more body fat than is really healthy.)
Unless you're a pro athlete, losing a little weight isn't going to hurt you. Think about getting down to about 27, at least. That's actually the point where health problems start statistically for people of European and/or African ancestry. That used to be the beginning of the overweight zone in the early days of the BMI, when they only had statistics for Europe. Once the rest of the world was measured, averages went down. At a BMI of 27, with visible musculature, you can be pretty sure you're not endangering your health even if you don't get the body fat test. And who knows? At a BMI of 27, maybe your 4-pack will be a full 6-pack! You may just be one of those lucky folks who can look like the advertisements.
bmi is a great tool for guesstimating where you are when you have no better data. in other words, while bodyfat might be the gold standard, it's hard to get an accurate reading. so they use bmi because statistically it's accurate for most people. that doesn't mean that it works for everyone, just that most people who are 5'5" tall and 173lbs are going to be overweight and not at a healthy bodyfat percentage at that weight. i don't know if you remember anything about statistics but if you remember anything like a bell curve or a box whisker plot, you're on the whisker part or in that 2.5% above the curve bell curve. in other words, it's not that it's impossible for someone to be perfectly healthy at 5'5" and 173lbs, but most people aren't going to be. and since most people don't have access to an accurate measure of bodyfat, it's a really good guess. if you know you are an exception, than that means that you do need to search out the more accurate bodyfat readings to see where you really are. but most people can use that bmi range as a guideline of where they should be, at least roughly.
Fitness Minutes: (79,300)
2,953 6/24/13 7:30 A
BMI is one of the most outdated methods of calculation for your body type. If you are extremely muscular and have a large frame, then it will be skewed.....go by your measurements and the waist to hip ratio number. You can google that to find out what the numbers mean
Don't be discouraged.....seize the day and kick its butt!
Fitness Minutes: (222,680)
21,785 6/24/13 5:28 A
At 5ft 5" and 173 pounds, your correct BMI would be 28.8. that's not considered obese, but it is considered overweight.
Are you using a hand held meter or body fat scale ? Is that where you got that 29% ? If you're using a body fat scale to determine your body fat, take any reading with a grain of salt. Those meters are notoriously inaccurate. If you really want to know your body fat percentage, go to your local gym and ask a personal trainer to do a 9 point caliper test. they'll pinch your body at 9 locations with a set of calipers. the readings will then be inputed into equations. the number that's calculated is your body fat percentage.
As another person has already noted, BMI does not take lean muscle into account. BMI only measures your weight divided by your height (squared). A body builder with 7% body fat would be considered morbidly obese by BMI standards. So, if you're a body builder and do a lot of strength training, that would explain why you can have a six pack, but still be overweight.
Are you male or female ? I have seen lots of guys at the gym who lift weights, but still have a gut. They may be really strong, but they aren't eating or drinking right. If you're a guy, you do carry more lean muscle by percentage than women do.
If you're using a body fat scale to get that 29% body fat calculation, don't trust it. BMI is different from body fat. you don't want to confuse them. Also, BMI is only one way to measure a person's health and it's not the best because it doesn't take lean muscle into account. Fit people are densely packed. Muscle is dense and takes up less space on the body. It doesn't weigh more than fat, it is DENSER than fat. that's why a body builder can be heavy, but look lean.
BMI can be flawed. If you are carrying a lot of muscle its going to have you in the obese category. I think most athletes BMI's show them to be obese when we can see thats not the case.
Fitness Minutes: (31,193)
1,893 6/24/13 2:55 A
BMI is a measurement based on ht and weight. It does not take into account how much of the eight is muscle. So if you are really muscular you should use a different method to calculate body fat.
So grats on the 4 pack and be happy that the BMI does not accurately reflect you!
Fitness Minutes: (466)
2 6/23/13 11:34 P
I don't get it. I'm 5'5" 173 lbs. the bmi says im 29%. which is almost obese. I can see my abs. I have a 4 pack. Can anyone explain this to me. on how im almost obese but sporting a flat stomach with ab definit ion
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