The Difference between BMI and Body Composition

What is the difference between BMI and Body Composition?

Having a healthy body is more than just about your body’s weight or knowing your ideal BMI (Body Mass Index).  A more valuable number to know is your Body Composition, the relationship between your lean muscle tissue versus your body fat.

A healthy Body Composition requires adherence of healthy habits within the Natural Medicine & Rehabilitation (NMR) Triad of Health.  (The NMR Triad of Health looks at a patients overall health picture including their Nutritional habits, their Mental outlook and their Reconditioning exercises.)  Adherence to these healthy lifestyle habits is the most important thing one can do for themselves to reduce the risk factors for chronic disease (i.e. high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity).

How do you calculate BMI?

An alternate, but less valuable predictor is your BMI.  This formula will at least let you know if you are within an ideal weight, but unfortunately does not tell us how that weight is distributed (i.e. fat vs. muscle).  To calculate your BMI, use this formula:

__________  x  703   ÷ ______________  ÷  ___________  =  BMI
(weight in lbs)                (height in inches)     (height in inches)

A BMI over 25 is considered overweight and over 30 – obese!  But remember that this does not tell you if the tissue is unhealthy fat or healthy muscle, instead know your Body Composition number.

Ideal Body Fat Composition for men is between 10-18% and 18-25% for women. In my opinion, it is just as important to know and optimize one’s Body Composition as it is with the many conventional blood test markers which we have come to view as important to our health.

Understanding your waist-to-hip ratio will also let you know if you are at an increased risk for serious health conditions. Take your waist measurement (over your belly button) and divide it by your hip measurement (over widest part of the hips). Ideal waist-to-hip ration for men should be less than .90 and for women less than .75. Toning and strengthening your abdominal muscles are great exercises, but spot exercising will not reduce your abdominal fat. A healthy lifestyle with routine exercise, good nutrition and daily physical activity will help fight obesity.

A customized nutrition treatment program at NMR can help jump start your progress. You will be guided through the steps to help clean out and eliminate foods that are toxic or “addictions” to your body. Break your habit of eating foods that are not helping with your weight loss and start learning how to replenish your body with quality low fat proteins, healthy carbohydrates and fats, as well as supplements when needed.

Did you know that a standard American diet without exercise could have a person lose 50% of muscle and double their body fat from age 20 – 60!

This is not simply aging!  It’s a lifestyle that greatly contributes to chronic degenerative disease in our country. Carrying extra weight around can further increase your risk of serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and certain cancers.  If you have increased abdominal fat, or visceral fat, it not only lies just under the skins surface but also surrounds your vital organs, which causes serious health problems!

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Natural Medicine & Rehabilitation

West End Physical Therapy, 10-12 West End Court, 2nd Floor, Long Branch, NJ 07740 | Phone 732.222.7799

399 Campus Drive, 1st Floor, Somerset, NJ | Phone 908.252.0242| Fax 908.252.0243