BMI Is About To Become A Thing Of The Past, Here’s Why…
We’ve all had our BMI worked out by a medical professional at some point or another. And although it can provide a general indication whether ones weight to height ratio is healthy or not, it’s far from being an accurate weight measurement tool for everyone.
Now a new App has been developed by the Mayo Clinic, that promises a far more effective measurement method to wellness measurement.
Before we get started, here’s what you need to know about the BMI system…
The Body Mass Index (BMI), otherwise known as the Quetelet index, was invented by the Belgian mathematician, Adolphe Quetelet. He created this formula to find a simple measure for classifying people’s weight relative to an ideal for their height.
The formula uses your height to weight ratio, to measure your overall mass per unit of surface area. And the results can then be ranked on a scale that determines whether you are: underweight (<18.5); healthy (18.5 – 24.9); overweight (25.0 – 29.9); obese (30 – 34.9) or morbidly obese (>35).
If you don’t want to go to a medical professional. It’s really not that hard to work out your own BMI at home either. Here’s the formula if you’re feeling curious…
So why is your BMI reading not entirely accurate?
The biggest concern with this measurement system, is that it doesn’t take your bone to muscle to fat proportions into consideration. Bone is denser than muscle and has double the density of fat! So, if you have strong bones with good muscle tone and less fat. You will automatically have a higher BMI and could be ranked as overweight or obese. When in fact, you’re quite the opposite.
“We know today that just because you have a high BMI, does not necessarily mean that you are overeat. It could simply mean that you are very muscular, especially in men,” says dietician and founder of Scoop to Lose, Melissa Kelly.
Not only does does your BMI give you an unclear indication of what your fitness levels are. It also doesn’t take your general health, age or gender into consideration. Making it a weight measurement system with a lot to be desired.
Introducing the BVI System
“Until now, there has never been an inexpensive, easily accessible method for professionals to measure their patients’ and clients’ body volume on a regular basis, and that could be done from anywhere,” shares CEO and Founder of BVI America, Richard Barnes.
With the BMI system being about 200 years old. It’s about time scientists made some advances in the field of body composition measurements. However, the challenge has been to find a simple way to extract physical information about an individual and asses their health status in an affordable way, and without using any complex programs. And right now, we may be in luck!
A new iPad app has been developed in association with Mayo Clinic and a few other global healthcare organisations that could finally replace the BMI system. It’s called the BVI Pro, which stands for Body Volume Indicator. The company behind it, BVI America, says it is able to determine how much visceral fat you have. Which up until now, could only be done with far more expensive machinery.
FAST FACT: Visceral fat is stored in your abdomen and around your organs and of and is considered to be the most potentially life-threatening types of fat in the body.
How does it work?
Basically, BVI uses patented 3D Body Volume Imaging technology to measure your body composition health risks in an affordable and easily accessible method. Barnes explains that, “by measuring weight and body fat distribution with a focus on the abdomen; the area associated with the greatest risk for metabolic disease and insulin resistance, BVI offers a new potential diagnostic tool to assess a person’s health risks.”
Any medical, clinical or fitness professional can use it to measure a patient or client body volume on a regular basis. Here’s how it’s done:
- Firstly, your healthcare professional is required to take two pictures of you on the iPad. One head-on and the other in profile.
- From there, you fill in all your personal information such as your age, gender and height.
- Finally, the software is able to generate an accurate snapshot of your fat distribution, as well as any associated health risks you may have.
FAST FACT: The app is free and can be downloaded for anyone to use. However, it’s recommended for professional use at this time. Going forward, BVI America is considering more consumer-oriented mobile applications as well.
What’s our specialist’s verdict?
“We know that we need a tool that tells you more about the amount of fat that you have and also what part is distributed around your waist, because this issue as the risky fat, because if most of your fat is distributed around your waist you are more prone to develop lifestyle diseases like diabetes and heart disease,” say Kelly.
“When I was trained as a dietician we used the waist-to-hip ratio, which is the smallest part of your waist divided by the widest point of you hips. The chances of developing a lifestyle disease increases steadily if that ratio rises above 0.95 in men and 0.85 in women. Whereas today, we use an even simpler technique called the waist circumference. You simply measure your waist at the navel, and the preferred circumference needed for women is < 88cm and for men, < 102cm in order to keep the risk of lifestyle disease low. I therefore believe that the BVI app could definitely be a more accurate measuring tool,” she concludes.
Melissa Kelly’s top 3 tips for maintaining a healthy weight around your waist:
Top tip 1: Do not follow restrictive diets, avoid the starve/ binge cycle. Eat a balance diet, and avoid becoming so hungry that you overeat at meals , especially in the evening
Top tip 2: Avoid the fat alcohol combination, typically biltong with fat, peanuts at the bar or crisps at a braai with a few drinks, opt for fat free snacks when you consume alcohol, like fruit kebabs, vegetables with a hummus dip, lean ham and gherkins, air popped popcorn.
Top tip 3: cultivate a lifestyle where you hurry less ,worry less, move more, sleep more and altogether change the way you interpret everything as stressful, you may be surprised at what this can do for your waist.