Guess What? Your BMI Doesn't Really Matter That Much

If you keep up with your yearly physical, you're probably familiar with your doctor asking you to step on a scale and then measuring your height.

This is because he or she is checking your Body Mass Index (BMI), a number used for years to determine how healthy someone is; depending on how tall you are, if your weight falls within a certain range, you're considered healthy.

But according to a study recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, we should probably stop using BMI as a way to measure health.

Here's how the study worked: Dr. William Leslie, a radiology professor at the University of Manitoba, and his colleagues analyzed the BMIs of 500,000 men and women and looked at how much fat they carried.

He found people with the lowest BMIs were at the highest risks of dying early (44 to 45 percent more likely compared to those with average BMIs), probably because they were malnourished, and people with the highest fat compositions, regardless of BMI scores, were also at higher risks of early death (19 percent more at risk among women and 60 percent more among men).

So, what does it all mean? The number on the scale matters a lot less than how much body fat you have because muscle is heavy.

Take Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example. According to, he has an estimated BMI of 30.8, which is technically above a healthy BMI range.

Of course, it's no secret Schwarzenegger is a muscular guy. So in this case, his BMI has little to do with how healthy he is.

I'm not saying weight is meaningless, but these findings are something to consider -- especially if you're on the more muscular side.

So long, BMI calculator!

Citations: Your BMI Can't Reveal How Healthy You Are (TIME)