Why calculating your BMI does not say it all !

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The body mass index (BMI) is an indicator that indicates whether a person has a weight in the standard. It is well known to the general public but not always well understood.

Its usefulness is questioned because it is practical for population monitoring in general but not always of great interest when used alone.

1/ How to calculate your BMI?

Calculation method = Weight / Square height

Example :

A person who is 1m65 tall for 60 kg will have a BMI of 22

60 kg / ( 1.65 x1.65) = 60/ 2.72= 22 kg /m2

The standard is between 18.5 and 24, but we cannot limit ourselves to this result.

Below 18.5 the weight is too low and above 25 it is overweight, above 30 obesity begins.


The BMI is an indicator that should always be used with:

-Waist circumference
-The % of fat mass

Indeed, a very muscular individual will weigh very heavy because the muscles weigh more than the fat. That doesn’t mean he’s obese, far from it.

A bodybuilder of 1m80 per 100 kg has a low body fat content and a low waist circumference. His BMI is 30.8, which is considered obese.

People with few muscles will have a relatively low weight but a very high fat mass and this will be reflected on the waist circumference.

In the event of a BMI of less than 18.5, a weight gain is possible to return to a healthy weight. (See the Mass gain program in the Foodvisor application)

2/ Waist circumference

According to WHO, the ideal waist circumference for health is:

-Under 80 cm for a woman

-Under 94 cm for a man

The fat in the abdomen is located around the waist. It surrounds the organs and causes metabolic diseases such as diabetes, excess cholesterol, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases etc….

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3/ The body fat percentage

Men have a naturally lower percentage of fat mass than women because women need essential fats for pregnancy and breastfeeding.

If the percentage of fat is too low in a woman, there is a risk of infertility since the body considers the rate insufficient, there is amenorrhea (stopping menstruation). Female fats are often stored on the lower body, on the thighs, hips, buttocks.

Man has a lower fat mass, and a heavier muscle mass which accelerates the metabolism. However, men tend to store fat at the visceral level, which is much more dangerous for health. Indeed, abdominal fat increases the risk of stroke because it surrounds the organs, especially the heart.

The normal body  fat mass is:

-Between 10 and 20% in an adult male

-Between 20% and 33% in a woman of childbearing age

In order to know your fat mass content, you can use impedance scales or visuals to find out.

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BMI alone is not a sufficient indicator of healthy weight. It does not indicate whether a person has too much visceral fat or not. It is necessary to take into account the 3 factors to analyze if the weight is within the norm. In case of too much fat mass, it is necessary to find a suitable program to return to a healthy weight. See our programs in the Foodvisor app.

Read also Which diet is adapted to my morphotype?

Article written by Elsa Orivel Dietician-Nutritionist at Foodvisor


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