Referring to the ubiquitous BMI calculator, at 5’9″ and 170 lbs I am classified as an overweight individual, sob. 😉 I can’t understand it – I’ve worked out religiously all my life and my body fat is only about 8 or 9%, what am I doing wrong??
Jokes aside, in my opinion the Body Mass Index is just a slim hairs breath above useless. The only reason the charts have any value at all is because – since such a small % of people exercise regularly (about 25%), the chart creators figured that nearly everybody was fat, so “why don’t we just see how much!”
We all know that body composition varies greatly from person to person. Large boned people (endomorphs) and muscular ones (mesomorphs) all slide over to right in the chart; this along with the person’s activity level should carry a lot more bearing. Now a study has leant some veracity to this obvious statement.
A study published recently in Scientific American followed 3600 seniors for a decade and found out that body muscle mass was a better predictor of longevity than body mass index itself. In fact, losing weight itself (except in cases of obesity) was not really important at all – particularly for the truly aged. This backs up other studies that showed that being slightly overweight was not a health risk, so long as the person stayed active of course. My conclusion is that a sedentary lifestyle at an ideal weight is no insurance policy, its better to be a pudgy endomorph who hits planet fitness 4 times a week!
How do you stand up to the great, almighty, empirical life predictor? Here it is:
I’m actually more of an ectomorph myself, that makes this chart even more unrealistic.