Body mass index is a diagnostic tool used by fitness and nutrition professionals to assess an individuals risk of obesity related disease. Since obesity is responsible for an increase in health problems, this establishes the importance of BMI diagnostic tools. Therefore, based on height and weight BMI allows us to determine where one sits on a scale of underweight to extreme obesity.
Importance of a BMI (Body Mass Index) Diagnostic Test
The benefits of a BMI diagnostic test are its quick and easy while requiring no measurements. As a result, height and weight are plugged into an online BMI calculator or it can be calculated manually using the example formula below:
Standard BMI formula:[Weight (lbs) x 703) ÷ Height (inches)]
- Multiply weight (lbs) by 703
- Convert height into inches: feet’ x 12″ + inches
- Divide (weight x 703) twice by the heighten inches
BMI formula example for a 5′ 4″ individual:
- 5’4” – 125 lbs
- 87,875÷64(H) in inches = 1373.05￼
- 1373.05÷68= 21.4
As a diagnostic tool, BMI alone has limitations for assessing obesity risk. BMI does not factor body composition into the assessment. Our body weight is made up collectively of bones and muscle (lean tissue) fat and water. Body composition is important because without factoring in gender, frame size, muscle density or age the result can be skewed and indicate a higher obese rating.
Baseline health information is important when starting a new exercise or nutrition program. This information can provide a guide to what may or may not be working. BMI is most beneficial when combined with Waist to Hip ratio and or a body fat test. All aspects of body composition are important when determining disease risk.