BMI vs Body Fat. When it comes to checking your weight, the numbers on the scale are typically the ones people are most concerned about. But health experts say a person’s BMI and body fat percentage are also important to know.
Carrie Bloemers, a registered dietitian for Lee Memorial Health System, says body fat percentage tells how much fat is composed in your body. “I always encourage my patients to look more at your body fat percentage verses even being concerned about the BMI classification that they fall into.”
A healthy body fat for women is between 13 and 31 percent. A healthy body fat for men is between 6 and 19 percent. The range accounts for differences in genetics and frame size. But health experts say just because a person has a healthy body fat, doesn’t mean they have a healthy BMI.
“BMI, the body mass index, is just a ratio of your height to weight. You can have a healthy body fat percentage, yet be classified in say the overweight category or even obese category. That’s because you may have a higher percentage of muscle mass and still a low percentage of body fat, yet weigh more so your ratio of height to weight puts you in a different category,” explained Bloemers.
She says a healthy BMI for both men and women is between 19 and 25. “An increased BMI does put you at risk for the chronic type of diseases like diabetes, like heart disease,” said Bloemers.
While monitoring your body fat is more important than monitoring your BMI, Bloemers says to be healthy, people should always have body fat. “If someone is underweight, with a low BMI or low body fat percentage it can translate into complications with immune system function, even additional heart issues as well.”
She says staying active and eating healthier, smaller portions is important to maintaining a healthy BMI and keeping your body weight under control.
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Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.
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