BMI: Does It Apply to Black Women?

May 19, 2014


shutterstock_186677252By Shana Adams (@bbgtonline) I’m 5 ft. 9 in. tall and weigh approximately 223 lbs. I put this information in an online BMI calculator online and I get a reading of 33.1. The standard BMI categories are: Normal weight = 18.5-24.9 Overweight = 25-29.9 Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater According to these categories, I am obese. I don’t disagree with that but what I do disagree with is how shallow BMI is. Yes, simply putting in my height and weight then clicking calculate gives me a number but that number doesn’t account for muscle mass, bone mass, or body composition. All your BMI says is that for X height, and X weight, you should aim for this weight. I disagree. Generally speaking, I can honestly say I’ve never met ANY woman who fit in America’s standardized, cookie cutter mold of what size a woman should be. I know for a fact that there are women who are considered “overweight” in the BMI category who are bodybuilders. Serena Williams BMI is probably not what you would think but you know she is extremely fit. As a black woman, a 2011 Reuters study found that we could be healthy at a higher BMI. Here lies the problem with BMI. I believe that knowing your body fat percentage is more important than BMI. If your fat is the problem, knowing the percentage of your body that is composed of fat will tell you more than how heavy you are. Black women don’t have to follow another BMI calculator with broader categories, but should ignore BMI all together. It doesn’t do you any justice because it doesn’t tell the whole story. Shana is a 25 year old communications professional who took her health into her own hands and started her weight loss journey mid 2010, but really took charge when she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2012. She is the creator of the health and fitness blog Big Boned Gets Toned! You can also view her Big Boned Gets Toned! weight loss vlog on YouTube.   Print

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