Body Mass Index For Men: Do The Calculations Work?

  • Two experts from leading US hospital, the Cleveland Clinic, discuss pros and cons
    BMI calculators and other basic measurements.

With professional opinions divided on the use of body mass index (BMI) to measure men’s health, two experts from a leading US hospital, the Cleveland Clinic, explain why men’s BMI calculators can be so controversial, but when men might still want to use them.

Physiologist Chris Dempers and fitness expert Colt Mcdonough explain that BMI is a formula for measuring your body fat by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in square meters.

“BMI gives you an overall assessment of your health. Your number indicates whether you are healthy, underweight, overweight or obese, ”says Dempers. “But that doesn’t take into account body fat or muscle mass, so there are limitations to BMI.”

BMI is unique – it ignores natural body differences, experts say. “It’s the same BMI chart for men and women, although women typically have more body fat than men,” Dempers adds.

However, in a society where time is running out, the benefits of BMI measurements are clear, says Dempers. “Many doctors use it because it’s a quick and affordable assessment for the general population: people of average height who don’t exercise regularly. “

BMI gives a pretty accurate measure of where people are in the weight range and whether the extra weight puts them on the verge of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions. “It can motivate people to adopt a healthier lifestyle,” he explains.

BMI chart ranges for men

Health experts say that a number between 18.5 and 24.9 is a healthy BMI for men. The same goes for women. The weight classification in the BMI table for men below is:

# BMI Weight classification
1 Below 18.5 Underweight
2 18.5-24.9 Normal
3 25.0-29.9 Overweight
4 30.0 or more Obese

Both experts point out that BMI is an old tool – it was developed almost two centuries ago. “At that time, most of their data came from cadavers, so that’s what the healthy BMI ranges are based on,” Dempers explains. “The average height and weight of people has also increased over the years, which confuses matters even more. “

Five alternative ways to measure your body fat

Dempers and Mcdonough say it’s best to think of BMI as part of the puzzle. The following five tools can help complete the picture:

  1. Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA): DEXA is an imaging test that measures bone density. “You can use it to determine what percentage of your body is bone mass, muscle mass, and body fat,” says Mcdonough.
  2. Electronic Body Fat Scanner: Electronic body fat scanners send a small current through the body to determine the percentage of body fat. Scanners are typically built into many scales. “While they typically have a standard deviation of around plus or minus seven on the precision scale, they still give you a good rough measurement,” Dempers notes.
  3. Mirror: Dempers says mirrors are a great tool for measuring physical progress. “This is not about nitpicking you. Instead, look in the mirror where you are and notice changes, like a decrease in belly fat, as you reach your health goals, ”says Dempers.
  4. Skinfold calipers: Although it varies by age, the average body fat range for men is 18-25%. Experts consider 25% and more body fat to be the obese range for men. Calipers, which look like pliers, are a tool used to measure the percentage of body fat. “Some athletic trainers know how to do a six-site test on your body using calipers. The results show your body fat percentage,” adds Mcdonough. “Although your BMI may be in the range of obesity, the skinfold thickness test may show that you are maintaining a higher muscle density than indicated by your BMI. “
  5. Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR): WHR is a person’s waist circumference divided by hip circumference in centimeters. Where the WHR is within a certain range indicates whether a person is overweight and at risk for developing obesity issues.
# WHR for men Health risks of obesity-related conditions
1 0.95 or less Moo
2 0.96 to 1.0 Moderate
3 1.0 or higher High

Experts advise patients to make sure they sit upright. To determine the waistline, place a tape measure around the smallest part of the waist, which is usually above the belly button. Then, to determine the circumference of the hips, do the same with the fullest part of the hips, usually the widest part of the buttocks. Divide the waist circumference by the hip circumference.

“You can have a good BMI, but your WHR might be off. You might have a big belly, but on paper your height and weight are still within the normal range, ”Dempers notes. “To accurately determine your body fat percentage, call an exercise physiologist or experienced fitness center trainer to help you. Then use that information to make positive changes.

“The mantra ‘use it or lose it’ is true,” says Mcdonough. “If you need to lose weight or maintain muscle, stay consistent with a balanced diet and regular physical activity. It can do the trick to keep you healthy in the long run.

Maria D. Ervin