Measuring your Body Mass Index does not actually measure your percentage of body fat – it’s actually a system developed in the mid 1800s as a unit of measurement for body fat. Your weight is divided by the square of your height, in an equation that looks something like this:
BMI = Mass in pounds / Height in inches squared X 703
If this gives you nightmares of high school algebra, I’m right there with you. For all intents and purposes, BMI is the best estimation for body fat percentage and a good indication of health. But it misses one vital component: Where you put on weight.
Recent studies show that where you put in weight is just as important as how much weight you put on. If you’re putting on weight around your middle, you’re at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
As we get older, our BMI may stay the same, but our waistlines expand as our estrogen decreases and body fat shifts from the arms, legs and hips to the stomach. But, we can fight these re-positioning fat cells by lifting weights to gain muscle mass, cutting back on calories, and eating the right kinds of foods. It all comes back to diet and exercise.