A clinical Naturopathic service for optimal health and wellbeing
Comparison with scales and BMI measurements
Body weight is the most commonly used assessment of body size because it’s so easy to measure and track. Face it, almost everyone has a bathroom scale in their home! The ease of measuring body weight is quite possibly its greatest benefit, but body weight is not the best predictor of health. This is because weight only provides a measure of how gravity works on a mass. It can be affected by hydration, menstrual cycles, food intake and more. Body weight cannot provide information about what’s going on inside the body, but it can be helpful when used as a general guideline as long as it’s not being perceived as a true indicator of health.
Body mass Index (BMI)
BMI is a slightly better assessment of health because it’s used to predict “normalcy” based on height and weight. While it’s still only moderately correlated with body fat percentage and markers of disease, one added benefit is that it removes the obsession some people associate with the scale. It’s extremely easy to calculate BMI online using a BMI calculator, but it’s also relatively easy to calculate by hand, as long as you know your height in meters and your weight in kilograms:
Calculation: BMI= Body mass (kg) / Height (meters squared)
Unfortunately, BMI still doesn’t provide real information about body fat percentage or body fat distribution, which can lead to health problems. It is possible for a person with a healthy body fat percentage and greater muscle mass to be considered overweight or obese based on BMI, and it’s also possible for a person with an unhealthy body fat percentage to be considered normal weight based on BMI.
The real benefit of looking to body composition analysis rather than weight or BMI is that it takes into account percentage body fat and body fat distribution, both of which are strongly correlated with markers of disease. All-in-all, if you have the opportunity to track your health and fitness progress based on body composition rather than weight or BMI, you should take
advantage of the opportunity to do so.