It’s funny, when you become so immersed in a culture or knowledge set, certain ideas and words and phrases become your norm of thinking. You could say that I see the world through “dietitian” colored glasses. There are days at work that pull me out of my usual line of thinking that help me see things from a different perspective. BMI is one of those things that is so ingrained in my understanding that I don’t even think twice about it. It’s easy to forget that this may not be common knowledge. BMI is an example of this.
BMI stands for body mass index and is one way that our health can be assessed. Theoretically, BMI is supposed to be a number that represents the level of body fatness. BMI is strictly based on height and weight and is not affected by gender.
When I do hear about BMI in the media, it is usually referencing how inaccurate using BMI is. BMI does have it’s flaws. People who have a large percentage of muscle mass (such as athletes and body builders) may have a BMI that puts them in the obese category when they are clearly not obese. BMI is simply one method of assessment. Responsible practitioners view a person as a whole and will not have a knee-jerk reaction to a single assessment. In my personal practice, it is simply a starting point to a full nutrition assessment. For average individuals, which is most of the population, the BMI is a fair indicator of weight status. Please note that there is an additional formula to calculate BMI for amputees to adjust for the missing limb.