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3 Problems with BMI

Updated: Jul 12, 2021

I think you’ll agree with us when we say:


While there is limited use for BMI in research, there is no valuable use for BMI in assigning or predicting health. Today we take a look at the problems with BMI and how you can improve health outside of the BMI scale.

Different types of fruit on a yellow background
Different types of fruit on a yellow background

BMI Doesn’t Distinguish Between Different Types of Body Mass

Fat, muscle, skeletal tissue and fluid weight are not distinguished by BMI. We know there are many things associated with good health that would make someone’s weight higher, muscle gain being a great example of this. Another good example of where BMI doesn’t work is Bone. Denser bone is associated with better health, but it also weighs more. According to BMI, many athletes are technically overweight or obese, despite being in good health.

BMI Wasn’t Designed For Use On Individuals

Group of people with different body shapes
Group of people with different body shapes

BMI is calculated by dividing weight by height squared. Created by mathematician Adolphe Quetelet in the mid-1800s. It was used as a way to measure the average weight of a population. Even Adolphe Quetelet himself said that it was not for use in individuals. BMI was developed on a group of white, males - no women, and no other ethnicities. We now have research to show that there are many different and unique underlying factors to an individuals health - we need a more personalised approach to health assessment.

Focusing On BMI Ignores Behaviors

women working out with exercise ball yellow background
women working out with exercise ball in front of yellow background

The argument for using BMI is that it’s a quick, easy and inexpensive tool for assessing a modifiable risk factor. Some suggest however that even asking about just four behaviours - such as an individual's fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, smoking, and alcohol use. Improving health starts with a better understanding of your body.


Most people assume BMI is the best way to measure health; however, BVI provides a better way to measure, track and improve your health. Unlike other technologies, you don’t need a wearable device or use smart scales to be able to monitor your health and understand your body composition, body images are not captured and no data is stored anywhere other than in your smartphone.

Learn more about BVI and our story here.

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