The Body Mass Index is a measure of body interpretation, which takes the weight and height of a person, to decide how thin or obese it is.
Although almost everyone understands that the BMI is an approximate measure (conditioned by age, sex and other factors), there are those who have a blind faith in it, without knowing how relative it can be if we take it as a reference for our health in general.
To understand why this happens, we have to understand that accepting that we associate too much with fatness with lack of health. We do not say that obesity is healthy, but in reality there is no evidence that fatness is a determining cause of diseases such as diabetes and related diseases.
All this makes interpreting the BMI so difficult, and so many myths arise that we must identify.
5 Myths about the BMI that we should stop believing
1.A low BMI guarantees a healthy life
The fat, as already said, is associated with diseases and conditions such as diabetes type 2, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. This should mean that a good BMI is a guarantee of good health. It should be like that, but it’s not that simple.
One study took the cases of 40,000 people, to analyze if there was a relationship between BMI and general health. The study found that many people in the “obese” category did not really have diseases associated with obesity.
This prejudice also tends to play the other way around, as many doctors tend not to analyze “thin” people for diseases such as diabetes, so many patients do not usually receive treatment on time.
2.Having a high BMI increases the risk of heart attacks
Obesity is related to high blood pressure, respiratory problems and heart conditions, but the question is: does this make obesity the cause of these conditions?
One study followed 4,046 pairs of identical twins, with different levels of BMI, for 12 years. During that time, the high BMI group reported 203 heart attacks and 503 deaths, while the low BMI group had 209 heart attacks and 633 deaths. While it is an isolated study, it is significant to see how this myth is breached.
3.Eating healthy and exercising guarantee a low BMI
Gaining weight is not always bad. Many times, we eat well and have a constant training routine, but our weight increases because we gain muscle, which is actually heavier than fat. This is not bad at all.
However, in terms of BMI, there are many doctors who continue to censor patients with a high body weight, despite the fact that it is accompanied by a balanced diet and constant exercise.
4.You are only healthy when your BMI is between 19 and 25
Let’s review the measures:
- If your BMI is less than 18.5, you are below normal weight.
- If it is between 18.5 and 24.9, you are in a normal range.
- If you are between 25 and 29.9, you are overweight.
- If your BMI is 30 or more, you are obese.
This means that being in the range of 18.5 and 24.9, is the golden goal that guarantees better health and look thin, right? It should be like that, but no.
The truth is that this measure is still a bit narrow, and research over the years has shown that those who insist the medical world in maintaining them, are the same companies that create drugs to lose weight.
5.The BMI is a complete health measure
This last myth encompasses all the others, but it is still useful to point out that the BMI measurement bases do not take into account real health criteria , but only the numbers that appear on the scale.
In fact, focusing too much on the BMI makes doctors see patients through very simple abstractions, which prevents them from concentrating on the characteristics of each individual’s health.
The best thing is that both patients and doctors who examine them always remember that there are no studies that link in a decisive way weight with diseases. You have to take this measure simply as an aesthetic reference or something more or less approximate, never as something definitive.