Home' Army News : October 13th 2011 Contents LIFESTYLE 39
Army October 13, 2011
Relying on body mass index readings to
assess your fitness might not give you a true
reflection, LAC Bill Solomou reports.
DURING the Join Bill
Campaign I have stressed
to members who have taken
on the challenge that they
should throw away the scales and
use a tape measure as a guide to
how they are going.
Using your normal day-to-day
clothing also indicates whether you
are on the right or wrong track.
For the first time in 12 months my
weight, blood pressure and general
wellbeing have improved dramatically.
Thanks to the efforts and support
from PTI Sgt Shane Duncan, dietician
Tiffany Peddle and encouragement
from family and Defence members, I
am on my way to better health.
The good news is I am no longer
in the obese category, according to my
latest body mass index (BMI) reading.
It is not clear, however, how accu-
rate the BMI measurement is -- and
some of the experts suggest caution.
In my case, I'm finding I am reduc-
ing in body size and gaining muscle
(muscle mass replacing fat).
In most cases the measurement can
be accurate, but the technique does not
differentiate between muscle and fat.
Because in most cases muscle
weighs more than fat, I know my BMI
reading may be flawed.
As a quick, easy and inexpensive
method of testing, the BMI has been
used for many years in Defence.
Physiotherapist and ex-PTI Lt Rob
Orr said BMI results could provide a
good starting point for assessing fit-
ness, but cautioned personnel to be
aware of its limitations.
"Even though it has the term
'mass' in its title, BMI uses weight to
determine fatness, even though fat is a
mass, not a weight. So the BMI cannot
differentiate if your measured weight
is made up of fat, muscle, bone or
water," Lt Orr said.
"I would estimate that more than 90
per cent of my 1995 PTI course cohort
would have been classified as 'over-
weight' and of that group at least 20
per cent as 'obese'. So in BMI terms, a
notable amount of the PTIs in the ADF
would probably be 'overweight'."
Lt Orr suggested there were other
methods personnel could use to gain a
more accurate reading.
"If you wish to be specific and
measure fatness, PTI staff are trained
in taking some basic measures like
'sum of skinfolds' and 'girths' that
when used together -- even with the
BMI -- can provide some basic infor-
mation about your body mass," he
"If you wish to measure your phys-
ical fitness, military fitness assessment
results are useful as they assess the
basic fitness of the individual -- hence
the Army fitness assessment being
termed the 'basic fitness assessment'.
"If you are tired of the basic mili-
tary fitness assessments, try some of
the assessments detailed in DI(A)
148-2 Army Physical Conditioning
Assessment System, Annex E."
Email Bill at vasilis.solomou@defencenews.
WHAT IS BMI?
THE BMI uses
in a formula
ed by height
compared to a
chart of 'normative' values and a
rating of 'underweight', ' normal',
'overweight' or 'obese' is given.
BMI is predictive of the develop-
ment of a range of medical condi-
tions including diabetes, heart
disease and arthritis.
Limitation: The BMI
test cannot differentiate
between fat and muscle.
Photo by LAC Bill Solomou
Weighing up the options
Are you eligible for a
Our Australia-wide network
is easy to access.
For the cover you can count on
just call 1300 552 662.
Then you are also entitled to home and contents
insurance through the Defence Service Homes Insurance
Scheme---even if you don't have a DHOAS home loan.
The scheme offers:
• Comprehensive cover
• Economical premiums
• No general excess
• Contents new for old replacement, regardless of age.
P02018 DSHI---DHOAS 261x190 Dec 09
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