Easy Body Composition Measurement

BMI 2 peopleBMI Flawed

One of the most popular methods of determining if a person is overweight or obese is using the BMI, or Body Mass Index. The BMI is an equation that is used by the medical community to determine who is at risk of certain diseases, such as heart disease. The formula for the BMI is as follows:




It is basically only to be used for sedentary individuals with average body composition. Therein lies the flaw. It cannot be used for the entire population. Many people who are active will have BMI that is high relative to their actual body fat percentage.

The biggest issue with the BMI, if you look at the formula, is that it only looks at body mass. It does not take into consideration body composition. Someone could have a high percentage of fat and be inactive and have a lower BMI than someone who is an athlete with more muscle mass, lower percentage of fat, and denser bones.

The issue is that muscle is denser than fat. No muscle does not weight more than fat, 1 kilo of fat is the same as 1 kilo of muscle. It just takes up more room. Therefore the BMI will naturally class athletic people as fatter than they are.

A Better Way Than The BMI

There are other more accurate methods. Most use specialized tools ranging from calipers, and special scales that use bioelectrical impedance. However, we can get a good idea if we only use a string.

String to Predict Health

By comparing the measurement around one’s waist to their height is a better way to gauge body composition. The healthy goal is to have your waist circumference should be less than half of your height.

It is important to measure waist because it takes into account body composition. It helps to determine the level of central fat around the vital organs and can be a good predictor of conditions such as stroke and heart disease.


One Response to “Easy Body Composition Measurement”

  1. Colin says:

    Great article, we have found an excellent way to track changes to body fat and muscle using portable ultrasound called Bodymetrix. We found that bioimpedance relied too heavily on keeping variables consistent such as hydration, time of day and menstrual cycles for women.

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