There are many units of measurement for a body. Weight is the most common, but not the most informative — in fact, there are two measurements also commonly used that might tell you a lot.
Your BMI and body fat percentage are important to know in terms of health and taking care of your body.
BMI is used more by doctors and other medical professionals to determine overall health, whereas a professional trainer might check on your body fat percentage more than your BMI.
So what’s the difference, and why is your BMI vs body fat percentage valued differently by various people?
What Is Your BMI?
BMI stands for ‘body mass index’. It’s a number calculated based on your height and weight that takes some other factors into account (such as gender and age).
Generally, it’s used as an indicator of health. Anything between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy. Anything over 30 is obese.
BMI has been used by doctors for a long time to assess risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions that could be affected by weight. However, these findings aren’t always reliable.
Athletes who might have far more muscle than the average person, pregnant women, the elderly, and children can’t depend on their BMI for an accurate depiction of their health.
Fortunately, it’s not the only measurement.
What Is Your Body Fat Percentage?
Your body fat percentage is exactly as the name sounds — the percentage of your body that is fat, vs. muscle, and the other components that make you up!
What constitutes a healthy body fat percentage is much more varied than the BMI. Like your BMI, it depends on age and gender, but the ranges for what is considered healthy or unhealthy vary much more wildly depending on these factors.
So what does body fat percentage mean?
Like the BMI system, it can assess health risks because it more accurately determines how fit you are (which is why it’s often used by personal trainers).
Your BMI doesn’t take into account how much of your body is muscle, so someone who is extremely muscular could read as obese on that system and then have that assessment proven wrong by their body fat percentage.
How Are They Calculated?
You can calculate your BMI by using the simple formula kg/m^2 (with kg being your weight in kilograms and ‘m’ being your height in meters).
Your body fat percentage should be calculated by a scale or monitor. It can be calculated by measurements, but often isn’t very accurate.
BMI vs Body Fat Percentage: Which Is Better?
Ultimately, which is better depends on what you want to know the reading for. For an average person in everyday life who isn’t pregnant or trying to build muscles, the BMI will probably suffice for an idea of health in regards to weight.
When it comes to BMI vs body fat percentage, however, body fat percentage is the most accurate indicator. If you’re looking for the best picture, that’s the measurement to look into.
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