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Alternative to BMI calculation? (Read 615 times)


I've got a fever...

    Hi! Wondering if anyone knows of an alternative to the BMI (body mass index) that takes body composition into account? I've always been bothered by the fact that this index only includes height and weight. Because of that, and the fact that muscle is denser than fat, someone like Barry Sanders, who was a 5'10" 220lb bundle of muscle in his playing days, would be considered obese, when that's clearly not the case. Now I'm not in Barry's boat -- I'm a 5'11" 214lb bundle of muscle and fat. But I remember when I last had a BMI in the "normal category" (<=25) and for me at 175lb i felt like i was nothing but a set of lungs with thick legs. i was always bothered by the fact that bmi wasn't taking frame or composition into account. cheers, jeff and="" for="" me="" at="" 175lb="" i="" felt="" like="" i="" was="" nothing="" but="" a="" set="" of="" lungs="" with="" thick="" legs.="" i="" was="" always="" bothered="" by="" the="" fact="" that="" bmi="" wasn't="" taking="" frame="" or="" composition="" into="" account.="" cheers,=""></=25) and for me at 175lb i felt like i was nothing but a set of lungs with thick legs. i was always bothered by the fact that bmi wasn't taking frame or composition into account. cheers, jeff>

    On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.

    Scout7


    CPT Curmudgeon

      There are tests out there that will determine your percentage of fat (calipers, displacement, etc.). I would guess it depends on what you want to know, really. BMI is generally just a tool to help make determinations. It's really hard to apply to individuals, since no two people are really alike.


      Needs more cowbell!

        I know there are measurements that take your body frame into consideration, too. I'm a bit of a freak in that my wrists put me at "small-framed," but my ankle bones have me at medium-large framed. Add muscle tone to the mix and that definitely skews things further. I wish BMI would at least take into account body type (mesomorph, ectormorph, endomorph) or bone structure. That would certainly help give a more accurate picture. k

        I shoot pretty things! ~

        '14 Goals:

        • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

        • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

          Your best bet is to get your body fat tested. If possible, spend the $50-$60 to get the Bod Pod or under water methods. Calipers can be inaccurate and are at the mercy of human error. BMI has me at the high end of the weight range, and when I retain water it puts me at overweight. At 145, 5'4" I am supposed to be around 130 or so. NO FRICKIN' WAY. Once I got my bf% done, it put things in perspective and made me realize that the BMI is a bunch of crap. So now I focus on clothing, measurements, and staying in weight 'range'. That way I don't get hung up on any one number.
          "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?' " - Peter Maher, Irish-Canadian Olympian
            While calipers are subject to human error, they give you a pretty good idea of where you stand. If you're working on body composition, you're shouldn't really be too worried about the actual # it gives, just how consistent of a measurement it gives. I've always used a tape measure plus calipers to track any body comp changes. Seven site caliper readings plus all the basic measurements gives a good chance of seeing the smaller movements. It was hard for me to see anything with just a three site caliper reading as everything moved elsewhere before those sites.
            smc3720


              Here is a place you can get a body fat estimate based on the ratio of neck to waist. This is what they used when I was in the army many years ago http://www.getanedge.com
                The best way to deal with this is to get your body fat measured in a BodPod, which are available at some universities or on tour. All the other methods are hugely subject to human error. That being said, while BMI is a guideline, it is rare for people to fall widely outside the range for their height because they are mostly muscle. Generally, if you are more than a couple points above 25 it's not muscle. Unless you're Shaq or Tom Cruise or whoever the 45 other male celebrities are that are cited as oh-my-god-technically-they-are-obese! This is the exception not the rule.
                2008 Goals
              • Run 1250 miles
              • Get down to 135!
              • Break 5 hours in the NJ Marathon
              • RobertEggers


                  This site has a BF % calculator on it but you need to put your email address in. www.healthy-body.co.uk