BMI and Application Utility

BMI and Public Health

BMI is generally used as a means of estimating the general body mass, especially of research samples, and can serve indicatively as a means of estimating subjective adiposity.

While on the one hand the BMI enjoys excellent ease of use, on the other it has a certain accuracy limit.

More generally, the BMI is suitable for the analysis of sedentary individuals, because this kind of subjects has a smaller margin of error.

The BMI has been used by the WHO (World Health Organization) as a standard for recording statistics related to obesity since 1980.

The BMI is particularly useful for collecting data related to the incidence of obesity or other related diseases; furthermore, it can be used in the planning of therapeutic interventions or in the design of collective RDAs.

Due to the tendency to sedentariness, the BMI is becoming more and more relevant also in the analysis of adiposity related to children.

BMI and Clinical Practice

BMI categories are considered a sufficiently accurate tool to measure the body mass of sedentary subjects; they are exceptions: athletes, children, the elderly and the sick.

Furthermore, the child's growth can also be analyzed by means of BMI, provided it is contextualised in a growth chart in percentiles. In this way, it is possible to estimate the tendency to obesity by calculating the difference between the actual BMI and the BMI mentioned in the preventive graph of the percentiles.

In many countries of the world, BMI is also used as an underweight estimate in the clinic for eating disorders (eating disorders) such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

BMI and Legislation

In France, Israel, Italy and Spain, legislation has been introduced that prohibits the practice of fashion shows with models of subjects who have a body mass index of less than 18 (already considered an underweight parameter). In Israel it is even subjectively prohibited to go below 18.5.


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