Is BMI Valid For Cyclists?



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A

Andrew Swan

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Sorry if this isn't the right NG for this, but I was wondering if Body Mass Index is a valid measure
for a reasonably fit road (not MTB or track) cyclist, or if not, is there some other yardstick for
telling if a cyclist's weight is appropriate to their height?

Just wondering...

&roo
 
R

Robert Chung

Guest
Andrew Swan wrote:
> I was wondering if Body Mass Index is a valid measure for a reasonably fit road (not MTB or track)
> cyclist, or if not, is there some other yardstick for telling if a cyclist's weight is appropriate
> to their height?

This is like asking if height is a valid measure of how tall someone is: BMI is BMI.

Nonetheless, here's some data from the 1997 TdF. Look about a quarter of the way down the page:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/results/1998/feb98/feb6.html
 
B

Bbense+Rec Bicy

Guest
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In article <[email protected]>, Andrew Swan
<[email protected]> wrote:
>Sorry if this isn't the right NG for this, but I was wondering if Body Mass Index is a valid
>measure for a reasonably fit road (not MTB or track) cyclist, or if not, is there some other
>yardstick for telling if a cyclist's weight is appropriate to their height?
>

_ The only sport BMI makes any sense for is channel surfing.

_ Booker C. Bense

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R

Rik O'Shea

Guest
Andrew Swan <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> Sorry if this isn't the right NG for this, but I was wondering if Body Mass Index is a valid
> measure for a reasonably fit road (not MTB or track) cyclist, or if not, is there some other
> yardstick for telling if a cyclist's weight is appropriate to their height?
>
> Just wondering...
>
> &roo

It depends on whether you think BMI is useful for anything. You probably shouldn't get too carried
away with it.

The pro riders in the Tour de France (1997 data) have values from 19 to 23. The average is 21.4701 I
think Pantani had one of the lowest just below 19 but dont forget this is their full time job.

A good rule of thumb for amateur racers of medium/slim build who want to climb well is 1 kg for
every inch of height. So 5-foot-10-inch (70 inches) = 70 kg = 154 lb. Although use your discretion
if you are a larger build (I dont mean big & fat) or stocky and or muscular.
 
D

Derk

Guest
Robert Chung wrote:

> This is like asking if height is a valid measure of how tall someone is: BMI is BMI.
I don't agree with you. BMI is for everybody else who doesn't work out also, but some cyclists (or
other athletes) have a lot of extra muscles (sprinter's legs e.g.). This weight is counted in the
overall picture, so in reality their BMI would be lower since the "extra" weight is not fat, but
muscles. BMI can't tell teh difference between fat and muscles, so at a same given BMI one person
can carry far more fat than someone else with the same BMI number.

A friend of mine, who is a cyclist also, did an online BMI test and got the advice to exercise less,
because his BMI was be too low. This guy can eat 2 horses and a pile of puddings and stay skinny. He
was just born this way, so I don't think BMI says it all.

I find the weight they give as being maximum weight allowed before being overweight FAR too
high. I weigh 70.5 kg and am 185cm tall. Look how much they claim I could gain and still be
considered normal.

Greets, Derk
 
M

Matt O'Toole

Guest
[email protected] wrote:

> In article <[email protected]>, Andrew Swan
> <[email protected]> wrote:

>> Sorry if this isn't the right NG for this, but I was wondering if Body Mass Index is a valid
>> measure for a reasonably fit road (not MTB or track) cyclist, or if not, is there some other
>> yardstick for telling if a cyclist's weight is appropriate to their height?
>>
>
> _ The only sport BMI makes any sense for is channel surfing.

...which is the one most people engage in. For the rest of us, it probably isn't as applicable.

Matt O.
 
R

Robert Chung

Guest
Derk wrote:
> Robert Chung wrote:
>
>> This is like asking if height is a valid measure of how tall someone is: BMI is BMI.

> I don't agree with you. BMI is for everybody else who doesn't work out also, but some cyclists (or
> other athletes) have a lot of extra muscles (sprinter's legs e.g.). This weight is counted in the
> overall picture, so in reality their BMI would be lower since the "extra" weight is not fat, but
> muscles. BMI can't tell teh difference between fat and muscles, so at a same given BMI one person
> can carry far more fat than someone else with the same BMI number.

So you're saying height isn't a good metric for how tall basketball players are?
 
Z

Zog The Undenia

Guest
Derk wrote:

> I find the weight they give as being maximum weight allowed before being overweight FAR too
> high. I weigh 70.5 kg and am 185cm tall. Look how much they claim I could gain and still be
> considered normal.

As someone who is right on the BMI=25 limit, I disagree! Everyone says I look thin - some people are
just more "dense".
 
P

Pk

Guest
Robert Chung wrote:
> Derk wrote:
>> Robert Chung wrote:
>>
>>> This is like asking if height is a valid measure of how tall someone is: BMI is BMI.
>
>> I don't agree with you. BMI is for everybody else who doesn't work out also, but some cyclists
>> (or other athletes) have a lot of extra muscles (sprinter's legs e.g.). This weight is counted in
>> the overall picture, so in reality their BMI would be lower since the "extra" weight is not fat,
>> but muscles. BMI can't tell teh difference between fat and muscles, so at a same given BMI one
>> person can carry far more fat than someone else with the same BMI number.
>
> So you're saying height isn't a good metric for how tall basketball players are?

a good few of the English rugby team who just won the world cup are "obese" by BMI measures

see http://www.rugbyrugby.com/COUNTRY_BY_COUNTRY/New_Zealand/Country_News/story_33140.shtml

for more on BMI & sportsmen.

pk
 
D

Derk

Guest
Robert Chung wrote:

> So you're saying height isn't a good metric for how tall basketball players are?
You're twisting my words. Of course height is OK for determining how tall anybody is, but here we're
not measuring 1 integer as height or fat pecentage, but the *RELATION* between two values.

Greets, Derk
 
R

Robert Chung

Guest
Derk wrote:
> Robert Chung wrote:
>
>> So you're saying height isn't a good metric for how tall basketball players are?
> You're twisting my words. Of course height is OK for determining how tall anybody is, but here
> we're not measuring 1 integer as height or fat pecentage, but the *RELATION* between two values.

So you're saying newtons aren't a good metric for force?
 
R

Ray Heindl

Guest
"David L. Johnson" <[email protected]> wrote:

> BMI is silly, since it factors height in linearly with respect to weight.

Au contraire. BMI = weight/(height^2).

> For the same proportions, a 5-ft tall person weighs
> (5/6)^3 =0.57 times that of an 6-foot person. So, those two people with the same build would have
> the short guy considered thin, but the tall guy considered fat.

I've never seen an explanation of why height is squared rather than cubed in the BMI definition. It
might have to do with the way things scale in the real world; an elephant's bones are
proportionately much heavier than an mouse's, for example. Or maybe it just came out of some kind of
fit to actual data.

--
Ray Heindl (remove the Xs to reply)
 
D

Derk

Guest
Zog The Undeniable wrote:

> As someone who is right on the BMI=25 limit, I disagree! Everyone says
I wasn't speaking about other people, but about myself. So, sorry if I offended you.

> I look thin - some people are just more "dense".
OK, I calculated that I could weigh 86 kg and still have a BMI of 25.

Please don't tell me that if I would put 15 kg of fat onmy body now, I still wouldn't look chubby.
Where do I leave all that weight?

I know what I'm talking about, since I used to be 30 kg heavier about 8 years ago. This was the
reason I started cycling. I can assure you I wasn't thin when I weighed 85 kg.

Greets, Derk
 
D

Derk

Guest
Robert Chung wrote:
> So you're saying newtons aren't a good metric for force?
This is a scientific formaula, that you can prove over and over again.

BMI isn't a given formula based on scientific evidence.It has a lot of fuzzyness: your BMI is OK if
it's between 20 and 25. Why those numbers? Why not between 19.9 and 25.2 for example?

Greets, Derk
 
A

Antti Salonen

Guest
Derk <[email protected]> wrote:

> I find the weight they give as being maximum weight allowed before being overweight FAR too
> high. I weigh 70.5 kg and am 185cm tall. Look how much they claim I could gain and still be
> considered normal.

I'm 169 cm and 60 kg, so I should be able to gain 12 kg and remain within the supposed normal
limits. This is a bit curious, as I don't have a particularly low body fat percentage even now, and
the BMI formula should also be working against short people like me.

Lately in the local newspaper there's been letters from various medical experts about the problems
of the standard BMI formula. The fundamental problem they keep pointing out is the fact that body
mass just doesn't increase relative to the square of height. Supposedly it would be a lot more
accurate for people of different height, if the mass was raised to the power of about 2.6, in the
formula. Even then it would ignore muscle mass, but it would be a better starting point.

-as
 
A

Antti Salonen

Guest
Antti Salonen <[email protected]> wrote:

> Supposedly it would be a lot more accurate for people of different height, if the mass was raised
> to the power of about 2.6, in the formula.

I obviously meant to say height, not mass. The suggested formula is thus:

BMI = mass(kg) / height(m) ^ 2.6

-as
 
C

Carl Fogel

Guest
Derk <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> Robert Chung wrote:
> > So you're saying newtons aren't a good metric for force?
> This is a scientific formaula, that you can prove over and over again.
>
> BMI isn't a given formula based on scientific evidence.It has a lot of fuzzyness: your BMI is OK
> if it's between 20 and 25. Why those numbers? Why not between 19.9 and 25.2 for example?
>
> Greets, Derk

Dear Derk,

You've pointed out an obvious problem with BMI. Unlike Newton-meters, it doesn't really tell us as
much as people believe.

BMI unquestionably defines a precise and scientific ratio between our weight and our height.

So what?

Equally precise and scientific ratios can be calculated between our weight and our shoe size, wrist-
elbow distance, pelvic width, femur length, shoulder breadth, and--well, let's not get into personal
areas where the ladies assure us that size doesn't matter, anyway.

For all its spurious air of precision, our BMI fluctuates daily, since we can lose an inch of height
during the day as our spinal discs compress or a few pounds of weight through processes too terrible
to contemplate.

Even when accurately calculated, BMI says nothing about whether the mass being related to height is
composed of fat, muscle, or bone. If you have a high BMI, all that it tells you is that you have
more mass than average--possibly fat, perhaps muscle, maybe heavier bones, or any combination of
the three.

An extremely fit athlete may have a low BMI (marathon runners) or a high BMI (heavyweight boxers).
And they may match the BMI's of sedentary office workers in their fifties.

Height in basketball players isn't much more useful than BMI. Height can help, but scouts are
painfully familiar with tall fellows who can't play basketball well enough to make the junior
varsity squad.

Greets,

Carl Fogel
 
C

Chalo

Guest
Andrew Swan <[email protected]> wrote:

> Sorry if this isn't the right NG for this, but I was wondering if Body Mass Index is a valid
> measure for a reasonably fit road (not MTB or track) cyclist, or if not, is there some other
> yardstick for telling if a cyclist's weight is appropriate to their height?

BMI is a bogus measure for any purpose. It's like prescribing a "correct" waist circumference
or hat size.

The problem is that BMI calls for dividing weight by the square of height, when weight scales as the
cube of height. The result is that a tall person can have the same proportions and body composition
percentages as a short person, but have a higher BMI. Can a gymnast be "underweight" while an
equally lean and fit basketball player is "overweight"?

The implication of this basic mathematical fault is that there is no "right" BMI number, and
since it is an index invented for the purpose of having a "right" number, it fails at its
intended purpose.

BMI must have a strong appeal to folks' ingrained sizeist ****, because it has gained great cultural
traction despite its lack of scientific value.

Chalo Colina
 
T

Tim McNamara

Guest
Antti Salonen <[email protected]> writes:

> Antti Salonen <[email protected]> wrote:
>
>> Supposedly it would be a lot more accurate for people of different height, if the mass was raised
>> to the power of about 2.6, in the formula.
>
> I obviously meant to say height, not mass. The suggested formula is thus:
>
> BMI = mass(kg) / height(m) ^ 2.6

If I've done my math right:

mass = 99 kg height = 1.91 m

Old formula:

BMI = 99/(1.91 ^2) = 99/3.65 = 27.12 (overweight).

Proposed formula:

BMI = 99/(1.91 ^2.6) = 99/5.38 = 18.40 (anorexic)

Under the normal formula, I'd have to weigh something under 144 lbs to achieve a BMI of 18.40.
Methinks the factor of ^2.6 is in error. I think that the standard factor of ^2 is accurate enough
for my height. At 217 lbs I am about 20 lbs above my optimal weight from practical experience, and
that coincides with the BMI. I couldn't tell you how accurate it is for shorter people. Getting back
to my optimal weight is this year's goal.

Excellent information available at:

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/index.htm
 
R

Robert Chung

Guest
Derk wrote:
> Robert Chung wrote:
>> So you're saying newtons aren't a good metric for force?
> This is a scientific formaula, that you can prove over and over again.
>
> BMI isn't a given formula based on scientific evidence.It has a lot of fuzzyness: your BMI is OK
> if it's between 20 and 25. Why those numbers? Why not between 19.9 and 25.2 for example?
>
> Greets, Derk

Sigh.

Two points on the map are 10 kilometers distant. I contend that distance in kilometers is a valid
measure of how far apart they are, regardless of whether you are on foot, on a bicycle, in a car, or
in an airplane; or whether there is a canyon, a river, a range of mountains, or a straight and flat
road between them. Distance is distance.

BMI is a measure, and it is a perfectly valid measure. BMI is BMI. The interpretation of that
measure depends on what you're trying to use it for. Do not confuse the metric itself with the scale
of interpretation. The poster didn't ask if a BMI of 25 (or 19.9 or 25.2) was appropriate or valid,
he asked if BMI was valid. Of all the posts in this thread, mine was the only one that put that
metric into context by pointing to a data table with the BMIs of actual TdF riders.
 
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