September 09, 2016

Can You Trust BMI?

Body Mass Index (BMI) has long been used as a measure of health. While it’s come under a bit of fire lately, it’s still a good guideline, says John Oldham, MD, at Baptist Health Medical Group bariatric (weight-loss) surgeon.

BMI continues to be popular because it is an easy measurement to take and is consistent when comparing from one patient to the next. Other methods that are used, such as measuring skin flaps, are time consuming, and results can very because of operator error.

A drawback to using BMI is that it doesn’t distinguish between fat and muscle. So someone with an athletic build likely will have a higher BMI but might not be obese. His or her weight is muscle rather than fat.

Dr. Oldham said it’s important to look at each patient individually along with the BMI measurement to determine if he or she is obese. People who are obese generally also have other medical conditions, such as high blood pressure.

Learn more about Baptist Health Bariatric & Weight Loss services.

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