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Does your BMI accurately reflect your level of health?

The Healthy EmployeeBlood pressure & heart disease Does your BMI accurately reflect your level of health?

Does your BMI accurately reflect your level of health?

Statistics have shown that 60% of adults in the UK have a BMI that puts them in the overweight or obese category. Being overweight or obese carries increased risk of developing a range of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. However, could your BMI be an accurate representation of your current health?


BMI is a popular, convenient and cheap method of measurement to use when establishing the health status of an individual. However, BMI uses your weight to calculate a result, but it cannot differentiate between fat, muscle and bone – it can simply only tell you if you are to light or too heavy for your height. It is the amount of body fat you are carrying that will help determine your risk of illness development.

This therefore means that you could have a BMI that considers you to be ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’, but be carrying a large percentage of muscle and are therefore still at a low risk of developing weight related illnesses. Likewise, an aging person could be experiencing significant muscle loss, and therefore have a healthy BMI regardless of the fact that they may be carrying too much fat.

As well as not being able to differentiate the difference between muscle, bone and fat; the BMI measurement is also unable to establish where you are carrying fat. This is an important factor in establishing your health status. This is because research has shown that people who carry a lot of fat around their waists are at a higher risk of health problems than those with more fat around their thighs or arms.

Therefore, your waist measure may be a more accurate representation of your health status and risk of disease.

Measuring your waist

Wrap a tape measure around your waist – defined as midway between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips.

What was your measurement?



Women with a waist of 31.5” or more may be at increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. This risk is much higher at 34” or more.


Men with a waist of 37” or more may be at increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. This risk is much higher at 40” or more.


Measuring your BMI and waist circumference will give you a useful starting point when it comes to establishing your health and wellbeing, along with assessing your risk for potential disease development. However, additional measurements and tests will create a full picture of your health, enabling you to understand if your health might be at risk.

Health Assessments provide a full summary of health risks and your current health status with recommendations for future health risk reduction strategies. Tests include:

  • Lifestyle questionnaire
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood sugar and cholesterol levels
  • BMI and hip to waist ratio
  • Total body fat and muscle %
  • Visceral fat levels
  • Lung function
  • Plus more!


To find out more about our Health Assessments, click here

The Healthy Employee
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