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Should I take BMI seriously

(70 Posts)
NerdAmigo Wed 24-Oct-12 10:52:21

Just went for my wellwoman check and got weighted and measured. The Nurse didn't comment on my weight, but I worked out my BMI when I got back and was shocked it was 28, which is well in to overweight.

I exercise regularly and probably eat too much cake. I'm a size 14-16. I wouldlike to be thinner than I am but I have stayed the same size since my last baby without starving myself. Do you take notice of BMI? If not what else do you use to assess whether you are a healthy weight.

Yes I do take it seriously. There are always people who dismisses BMI because serious athletes also have very high BMI because of their muscle mass. The truth is where you carry your weight is very important. Basically if it's around your middle, it's a bad thing. But if you are all over muscly like an athlete then it's nothing to worry about. (You'd probably also know if you are fit like an athlete)!

Have a look at this if you want to see if you are really overweight. It's got ideal, high and very high measurements of waists.

dexter73 Wed 24-Oct-12 11:23:20

If you are a size 14-16 then I guess you are overweight. How much weight would you need to lose to have a BMI of 25?

Northumberlandlass Wed 24-Oct-12 11:37:45

Dexter73 - must take you up on that! I am 14-16 and BMI is 26 so yes slightly over weight - I am 6ft Tall, I don't carry my weight in a particular area of my body - I am broad shoulder and wide hipped.

In my adult life I have never been lighter than 13st 4 (believe me I have tried everything) - I was a size 14 then.

Northumberlandlass Wed 24-Oct-12 11:39:53

But in answer to OP - I do take it seriously, but use it as a guide. I went under GA/ operation recently and the nurses were perfectly happy with my BMI at 26.

dexter73 Wed 24-Oct-12 11:42:39

OP has a bmi of 28 though Northumberlandlass so is either shorter than you or weighs more than you.

notyummy Wed 24-Oct-12 11:42:57

I would agree that you should take notice. 28 is not just slightly overweight. It is edging towards the obese category. If you are an elite athlete you can chalk up BMI as useless because your % muscle will be so high - but that would involve significant time and energy spent on exercise and few people (despite wishful thinking) are actually in the category where they can discount BMI. To help you understand where you should focus your energies on, body fa t% and waist size measurement could also be good. There is some research to say that you are better being slightly overweight and fit, than slim/underweight and unfit. But a BMI of 28 doesn't sound in the 'slightly category. Sorry if that all sounds harsh - it's not meant to be.

mignonette Wed 24-Oct-12 11:48:01

BMI is a very blunt tool. You can be slim and muscular yet have high internal levels of fat. it doesn't measure harmful cholesterol and doesn't take into account body composition. Imagine Kate Moss has a very low BMI yet imagine her actual health and body age would be pretty awful considering her smoking/alcohol/lifestyle/drugs...

Ephiny Wed 24-Oct-12 11:50:54

You can check your waist measurement as well, it's supposed to be a good indicator of healthy weight.

Tombleeboo Wed 24-Oct-12 11:51:49

^ exactly what notyummy said.

Northumberlandlass Wed 24-Oct-12 11:52:11

Dexter I meant the statement that as she is size 14-16 she must be overweight, but agree with the above having a BMI at 25 or less doesn't mean a healthy person!

dexter73 Wed 24-Oct-12 11:54:16

Ok but I would imagine that a person who is a size 14/16 is overweight. You said you are a size 14/16 and are overweight so I'm not sure why what I said was wrong?

Zwitterion Wed 24-Oct-12 11:57:43

Waist measurement CAN be a good indicator, but not on its own. I'm an apple, carry ALL my weight on my tummy, with a mid range BMI for my height and an unhealthy waist measurement. Even at my slimmest (and unhealthiest as my periods stopped) my waist measurement was not 'healthy'.

Isn't it all about what's healthy for you? Eat healthily and exercise. If the nurse didn't even mention it I wouldn't worry, but if you're at all concerned focus on eating cleanly for a while.

notyummy Wed 24-Oct-12 12:02:11

Which is exactly why a range of indicators can be the most helpful. If you measure worryingly on one but you feel/look healthy, then double check how you are on the others (waist/BMi/body fat %). If you are outside the normal range (in either direction) on all of them, I would suggest that there is something that needs addressing if you want to be healthy..

Sleepwhenidie Wed 24-Oct-12 12:05:53

Notyummy has pretty much summed it up and mignonette, you are right, it is a blunt tool and a healthy BMI does not necessarily = healthy body, (although if you are slim and muscular it is unlikely that you have a high % of fat, unlike "skinny fat" people), but for the majority of us BMI is a very useful indicator of unhealthy/healthy weight, so it should not be ignored.

fridgepants Wed 24-Oct-12 12:22:30

"Ok but I would imagine that a person who is a size 14/16 is overweight."

When I was this size I was underweight according to my BMI. Dress size is a bit meaningless, because your height and frame makes a difference - all a dress size is is shorthand for a set of waist, hip and bust measurements.

mignonette Wed 24-Oct-12 12:45:20

You can have a lot of fat around your organs and be as thin as Stella McCartney in a steak restaurant.

Medical folks won't start to get excited about your BMI till you get to 30, this is where all those bad health things start to go up.

Current research seems to be showing the healthiest BMI to be is a smidge overweight, in fact around 26... so well done Northumberlandlass grin

At my lightest, I've had a BMI of 22, and I still had a size 16 arse. God bless genetics, eh.

Northumberlandlass Wed 24-Oct-12 13:03:25

grin Boulevard you've made my day!!
To be fair, I couldn't squeeze anymore exercise classes in...although I could cut out proper butter <shudder>

mignonette Wed 24-Oct-12 13:04:45


Don't cut out butter! Just use less, use better. The chemicals and crap in 'low fat' spreads and the probably yet to be discovered consequences of all this processed so called 'healthier' food....

Woozley Wed 24-Oct-12 13:08:38

I know I need to lose a stone for starters, my BMI is 27, but I also feel much fitter and healthier than I did a year ago when I was probably slightly lighter. (I went heavier and have lost 9lbs so far).

Firstly, my mental health is much better as I am not too stressed. I can do 40 minutes + of cardio in the gym, and not just faffing about on a bike reading a magazine either - running, rowing, cross trainer and exercise bike, with my heart rate at 80% of maximum.

I have started running again and can now jog for 4.5 miles. My resting heart rate is around 50, (apparently like that of a 18 year old male athlete, though some of it is genetic) my blood pressure is between 90/45 and 100/60. My waist measurement is 28, I am size 14, so not a problem in the diabetes stakes.

I don't suffer from colds and ill health now. I get a sniffle, sore throat or tickly cough for a few days tops. A year ago when I was stressed out I was getting everything under the sun including IBS. The IBS symptoms have stopped completely.

So yes I would like to lose weight but I am generally (very) healthy I think, much fitter than the average person. You have to look at the whole picture. Getting my head in the right place has been a priority for me, being kinder to myself. Exercise has been part of that, but sometimes I have had to take a step back from it- for example doing loads of cardio exercise and running was too much for my body when I was stressed out with work, it didn't help at all, I was exhausted mentally and physically and just kept getting ill. Balance is required.

Northumberlandlass Wed 24-Oct-12 13:09:36

Mignonette This thread just keeps getting better! smile Have worked really hard losing weight & getting fit...I almost hugged the nurse when she told me my BMI was 26 !!

Fluffy1234 Wed 24-Oct-12 13:11:37

Op at least you are aware of your BMI now and can make the decision if you want to do something about it.
Last year I had a bmi of 34 and weighed 13 and a half stone. It took 8 months to get down to 9 stone and a bmi of 23.

Woozley Wed 24-Oct-12 13:13:57

I don't think Lurpak lighter is too bad. Butter, vegetable oil and salt, if you buy the salty one.

Sleepwhenidie Wed 24-Oct-12 13:20:01

mignonette, re slim and fat around organs, yes I didn't disagree - my point was "slim and muscular" you are less likely to have high fat % - and I also agree re butter grin

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