Feedback on Body Mass Index Calculation

Body Mass Index Feedback

This page is feedback about the Body Mass Indes or BMI, please help others by adding your feedback. What would you tell someone about BMI?

Subj: The average person?
Date: 5/25/2005
Isn’t there some other type of calculator that factors in muscle mass for athletically inclined and generally strong people? I am not by any means a “bodybuilder”. I am very active, strong and healthy (blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate all in very healthy range), but The BMI calculator puts me in the ‘obese’ category. Is the “average person” actually very devoid of muscle mass?


AskDocWeb: Unfortunetly yes, the average American is not in good physical condition.

Subj: Upset
Date: 6/24/2005
So, I am obese. Never did I want to read or hear that. I am upset and just really need some help with what I am doing. Thankfully I have lost 15lbs since a while back, I would start something and then stop! Please help me! Thank you,


AskDocWeb: There are a couple of things you can do. The first thing is to get your doctor’s advice on if and how best to proceed. He may or may not prescribe a weight loss medication. The other is to seek nutritional advice from a nutritionist at your local hospital. They will follow your progress and help you any way they can.

Subj: Ridiculous BMI
Date: 7/28/2005
Maybe they should rename it Beanpole Mass Index for the wimpy Harvard men who invented it. If I handed them one of my training weights they would surely drop it on their foot.

I am a 27 year old male. I lift weights 1.5 hour a day 6 days a week and run 3 miles per day 5 days a week. I do not take any supplements or hormones of any kind. My diet consists primarily of baked chicken fish and vegetables. I would say I am muscular based on the fact that I bench press 320lbs and curl 80 lbs on one arm. I was disappointed that the BMI labels me as “obese”. I find this ridiculous based on my very lean extremely muscular build. I am about 5’10” and 208 lbs.


Subj: Adjusted BMI?
Date: 7/28/2005
Has anyone considered devising a new BMI system that adjusts for a persons maximum curl or bench press. For instance Body Weight – (.15 X maximum bench press) My father actually benches less than 120lbs, has a gut and is considered normal by BMI. I bench press 320lbs and have no gut and am considered obese by BMI.


AskDocWeb: Thanks for the suggestion Dan! That sounds like a good idea. Try this and let us know what you think.

Subj: School harassment over BMI
Date: 9/4/2005
I have a 6 year old boy. (6 years 3 months). He is 51 inches tall which puts him off the growth chart for his age. However the school has calculated his BMI at 17.3 because he weighs 64 lbs. The looked at the BMI and said the he is in danger of becoming obese because his BMI is at/or above the 85th percentile for his age. He is wearing size 10 slim clothes but they insist that unless he loses 4 pounds he is not at a healthy weight and keep sending me letters home that I am neglecting my child’s health because he has not lost the weight. Do I need to worry about his weight or is this problem because he is so tall for his age and height is used to compare his BMI back to average children his age? Please give me advice on what to do?


AskDocWeb: It sounds like the problem is with someone at your school rather than your son. Here’s how we would handle this: Take the letter that accuses you of neglecting your child’s health to your doctor along with your son. Tell your doctor that you want a written professional opinion so that you can reply to the school. Then make two copies of the professional opinion (keep the original). Send the school principal a letter asking them to educate whoever is interpreting the BMI, correct their mistakes and to stop harassing you or you will sue them. Include a copy of the professional medical opinion and send a copy of both the letter and the medical opinion to the principal. If that doesn’t work send another letter to the school board asking for help with this harassment.

If you do nothing, you run the risk that these people might report you to child protective services. If might help if you include a photo of your son in a swimsuit with his name, age, height and weight on the photo.

Subj: Losing weight too fast?
Date: 10/31/2004
I recently had a drastic loss of weight, 30 lbs. in about a three month period. I am on medications that seem to mess with my system. I am currently 189 lbs. and am 6’3″, however, I have a very broad, or “big boned” structure, but not muscular as I keep seeing that you talk about. I am wondering if the weight loss occurring so quickly is ok. I intend on maintaining my current weight but also wonder if maybe I should lose more. I am on the high end of the normal range. When I graduated from high school I was only 165 lbs. and in about four years I went all the way up to 252 lbs., what is ideal for my weight, taking into consideration my next question. Does the fact that I have a broad structure mean anything? Thank you for your time.


AskDocWeb: Since your weight loss occurred at a rate of one pound every three days (30 lbs. over 90 days), you should be fine. There is no reason to be concerned unless you lose more than one pound a day.

You should talk to your doctor about what might be an ideal weight for you but the percentage of body fat now seems to be more important than your weight. At least as far as your health is concerned. A good body fat caliper can give you accurate numbers for this and it costs less than a bathroom scale.

Subj: Sometimes I just go crazy
Date: 1/20/2006
I’m 18, and used to be rather heavy, with a body fat percentage of 27 percent. I started workout out and doing lots of cardio, and eating much better, and my boy fat is at about 12. However, I have friends that weigh more than me, yet have lower body fat percentages and look better than me. Most of these people don’t really work out, and I do, and I’m alot stronger than them. I eat pretty good, but sometimes I just go crazy and eat alot of peanut butter for instance, but I never really gain weight. My chest is just a little flabby still, even though I’m still getting very strong. I don’t know if it’s possible that that’s just extra skin from losing so much weight that I will always have, or if there is something I can do to keep my results going. Please help,


AskDocWeb: The excess skin on your chest sounds like it is due to weight loss. Try doing some upper body exercises to tighten and build those chest muscles. Congratulations on losing all that weight! Keep it up and you will live a long healthy life.

Subj: Serious body building
Date: 1/26/2006
I am 46 years old, and two years ago took up a rather serious body building and running (half marathon) program. So far, these have been pretty successful. I came out in the top quarter of my age category at last years Philli. Half Marathon, and have put on some fairly significant muscle. I have also lost about 4 pounds (I weigh 109 lbs), and I am a committed vegetarian. Is there anything, esp. given my fairly low BMI, to which I should be paying particular attention, with respect to diet, exercise program, etc? Thank you in advance for your response.


AskDocWeb: Make sure you are getting the protein your body needs. It sounds like you are doing a terrific job with everything.

Subj: Weight problem at 15
Date: 1/30/2006
Hi, I am 15 years old and sophomore in high school. I have a bit of weight problem and I’m doing everything possible to get in shape. But I’ll start to eat right and exercise daily for a week but when the weekend comes I tend to start all over again. I weigh 253 lbs. Now that’s not healthy. Do you have any advise to help me out?


AskDocWeb: Sounds like you could benefit from weight counseling. A counselor can have someone work closely with you twice a week to talk about what you should be doing now, and what your progress is. On the weekends be with a friend who will stop you from eating junk foods. The most important thing you can do is to be around people that support you. Choose your friends wisely.

Subj: Help
Date: 2/6/2006
I’m over weight, I do quite a bit of exercise, but I don’t lose the weight. HELP???


AskDocWeb: Exercise is only one part of weight control. Make sure you don’t have a medical reason for being overweight. You might want to have your doctor check your thyroid.

Subj: Is this accurate?
Date: 3/21/2006
I’m 15, and I play rugby/body build. I weigh 200 lbs and am 5’7, giving me a BMI of 30. Though my build says otherwise…is this accurate?


AskDocWeb: We have a different calculator for athletic people to figure their lean body mass index. According to our lean MBI calculator, it puts you at 27, but that does not allow for your age. You would need to talk to your doctor to find out if you should be concerned or not.

Subj: Not in the athletic range?
Date: 3/23/2006
The body mass index used here is not a healthy stereotype for the majority of people, in my opinion. I’m a humble 6’4″ and 175 lbs and that puts me at like … a 21? Not even in the athletic range, even with constant 5 mile plus workouts and going to the gym. You need more criteria to make this accurate, as right now it only sets a standard for the morbidly obese to follow. As for what someone should do if they are obese, I believe strongly in exercise, unless a doctor has specifically noted that it may endanger you.


AskDocWeb: Our calculator does put you at 21 and that means you have an ideal amount of body fat. That ratio is what many individuals perceive to be the best BMI possible. What criteria do you suggest we add to increase the accuracy of this calculator?

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Related links:

Body Mass Index for those with an athletic build. Calorie Calculator to find the number of calories you burn each day.

Calculate your Ideal Weight for Adults.