BMI is a Poor Indicator for Heart Health in Older Patients

BMI, or “Body Mass Index,” has long been the “gold standard” for determining if you are overweight, and what your risk is for heart issues as related to weight. Now, a review of 40 studies on BMI as it relates to being a predictor of heart disease shows that it (BMI) is a poor indicator for older patients. Researchers believe this is because the calculation does not take into account muscle as part of the body’s mass. People that have large muscle mass, and may be considered “overweight,” actually had less heart problems than similarly “overweight” people that had a higher fat than muscle level.

Does Body-Mass Index Really Predict Heart Risk?

Doctors have typically gauged a person’s weight-linked risk for heart trouble by using their BMI. However, a new analysis of 40 studies involving over 250,000 patients showed that those with a BMI under 20 were at higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease than those with ‘obese’ BMIs of 30 to 35. ‘An explanation for the lack of a positive association with BMI and mortality in older ages is that, in older persons, BMI is a poor measure of body fat,’ concluded a team of researchers from the Mayo Clinic, who published their findings in the Aug. 19 issue of The Lancet. ‘The measurement of weight does not differentiate between fat and fat-free mass, and fat-free mass (especially muscle) is progressively lost with increasing age.'”

The bottom line is that there is no “one weight fits all” level that we should be shooting for, but what is right, and healthy, for YOUR body!

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