(Closed) BMI vs How you look

posted 8 years ago in Fitness
Post # 77
5373 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2014

I’m overweight according to my BMI (25) and always have been, although I really don’t think I look overweight. I think I look pretty average?


Post # 78
81 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I’m confused by everyone who is stating that they “don’t like” BMI or think its “BS.” It was not designed to be the only factor in determining state of health. Many other factors come into play. If you fall into the obese category then you are obese. That does have health implications for the future. 

Post # 79
3253 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

@JustHappy: I don’t think people are necessarily saying they don’t like BMI itself but rather the fact that so many people in our society seem to use it alone as a tool to decide whether you’re healthy. You are absolutely right that there are many other factors to consider when determining your state of health.

Post # 80
5147 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

@JustHappy – I hate getting a “red flag” and told every single year at my work-place’s health checkup that I need to eat more and need to gain weight. I’ve weighed the same for over 10 years; my sister is also the same size/weight as me and she’s 6 years older and has 2 kids.

I would like to gain more muscle. I’ve talked to people on exercise forums, and have been told my goal to gain 10+ pounds by gainng muscle is unrealistic. They say if I even if really really work at heavy weight-lifting and do GOMAD (a gallon of milk a day), 10+ pounds will be very difficult to acheive, let alone maintain; that gaining 5 pounds is a much more reasonable goal for me. My sister, who used to be a personal trainer and is really into fitness, has occasionally been able to gain 5+ pounds when she’s been training really hard, but as soon as she takes a break even for 2 weeks, it drops off almost immediately.

Healthy weight is different for different people. My healthy weight happens to be on the low end; according to BMI I could gain about 50 pounds and still be “healthy weight”, but that wouldn’t be healthy for me. Some people’s healthy weight happens to be on the higher end and it wouldn’t be healthy for them to lose very much weight. Everybody and every body is different.

One of my former co-workers was constantly flagged as “obese” on his health check-up. He was one of the fittest and healthiest people in the office.


These 2 people may very well have the same BMI (I know they would both be at least “overweight”, probably both “obese” by BMI; in fact, I suspect the man on the right may have a higher BMI than the man on the left) yet obviously they are very different in health/fitness levels:

Post # 81
153 posts
Blushing bee

Have you ladies read this? http://www.xojane.com/issues/bmi-pointless-unscientific-garbage

it really explains WHAT BMI was created for, and basically it was for life insurance companies.  I read this article a few months ago when it was published, and it was really eye opening.  I for one am waaay overweight. I won’t post my weght, but I’m 5’9″ and a size 18.  I wear an XL shirt most of the time.  But the thing is, years ago when my twins were babies, I was the same size as now, but a good 40-50lbs less.  I’ve had trouble wrapping my head around that, but 1)I have a lot of extra skin from losing 80lbs 2)I have a TON more muscle 3) my body shape has changed.  So You can be the same size, but have a drastic change in weight.  I know that I’m always going to be on the heavier side, i always have been.  I have big bones, and I’m tall.  I was not built “thin” as much as I would have liked to be, and have always had thick thighs/hips/a round booty and big boobs.   Read the article though, it’s quite interesting.


The Body Mass Index we know today has its origins in the mid-1800s, when Belgian statistician and “social physicist” Adolphe Quetelet devised it as a part of his efforts to describe the “normal man” of his era, both physically and socially. The original Quetelet index had nothing to do with health or obesity, but was merely a means of working out the average build of a typical male human. 

Enter Louis I. Dublin, who over one hundred years later would oversee the development of height and weight tables in his capacity as vice president of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. These tables — familiar to those of us who grew up prior to the government adoption of BMI — were based not on medical information but on actuarial statistics. Basically, the charts depicted the mortality rates of men based on height and weight, which was important information to an insurance company for rating life insurance policies (as knowing who is likely to “collect” — i.e., die — sooner is useful for running a business whose purpose is to pays out upon the death of the insured).

Both of these developments, upon which our modern Body Mass Index is based, were designed to assess mortality trends over large populations, not to predict health or wellness for individual patients. 

Next, in 1972, obesity researcher Ancel Keys was working to come up with the best height/weight formula to predict body fat percentage. He landed on Quetelet’s formula — “the weight increases as the square of the height” — as the most accurate gauge, and it was renamed the Body Mass Index.  

Keys, however, only intended this measurement to be used in epidemiological studies — that is, studies across broad and diverse populations to show overarching trends. Indeed, Keys himself explicitly stated that the BMI he designed was inappropriate for individual diagnosis, as it purposely disregarded the diverse characteristics that affect how weight impacts a unique person. The very thing that made the BMI an effective measurement for epidemiologists — its failure to account for age, gender, race, and build, among other distinguishing factors within a population — made it not applicable to the health of a specific patient.

Here’s another one that is pretty interesting:


Post # 82
879 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

My BMI is pretty accurate. I just barely make the normal weight category and I’m on the low end of the healthy weight chart. Most people assume I weigh less than I do in person though, probably because I’m fairly lean and muscular throughout (I do yoga/pilates, dance, swim, hike, etc). I weigh the same as the average person my height, I guess I don’t look it. It must be my 32Cs lol.

Post # 83
157 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I use BMI fairly regulary at work as I work in a medical field. It’s not a great measure of health, but it does serve a purpose and I tend to rely on it quite a bit. From practice standpoint I find it’s fairly accurate. Those with higher BMIs will not only look overweight/obese but also will show associated problems of obesity, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. There are of course outliers, such as bodybuilders and really fit people when you just take a glance at them and their vital signs and you pretty much ignore the BMI because you know it will not apply to them. But, for general population, and let’s face it in USA it’s pretty much a norm to see “bigger” people, BMI is not that far off.


Post # 84
2868 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@agusia:  I find BMI is a great indicator of how good I look in a bikini, but little else. I actually feel better and have more energy at 23-25 BMI. I am pretty muscular (5’4) and hit a size 4 at about 133. Sounds like this is more common than I realized.

Post # 85
2622 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Without getting into whether BMI works or doesnt work (it only doesnt work if you extremely muscular and muscle is much harder to build than most people realize), we have to remember what we see as normal/average now doesnt mean that is what people saw as normal/average in 1920 or is what the medical community sees as the right weight/overweight for health reasons.

If 36% of the people around us are overweight to obese, and we are slightly overweight we will see yourself as perfectly average- that doesnt mean its not overweight. We just fit in with the crown


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