Fit but obese? New test clears up BMI flaws

6:58 PM, Jan 15, 2014   |    comments
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Steven Broomfield lifts weights. (Jan. 15, 2014)

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- There's a downside to being physically fit: it can cause you to pay a higher health insurance premium.

It's common for those who are very physically fit to be considered overweight and even obese because muscle weighs more than fat.

Steven Broomfield is a competitive cross fitter with Crossfit Grand Rapids. With all the hours of training he puts in you'd think he'd be considered pretty fit, but at 5'10" and 191 pounds, Steven's BMI categorizes him as borderline obese.

Enter Mercy Health Saint Mary's Body Composition Analysis Scanner. Until recently, Saint Mary's only used it to chart the progress of bariatric patients and those in need of losing significant weight.

But more insurance companies are using BMI to determine how high your premium should be. Now Saint Mary's is using it to help physically fit individuals get an accurate measurement.

The scan only takes about two minutes then the data is mapped out. It only takes a glance for Dr. Chad Williams with Mercy Health Saint Mary's to determine Steven's results. "His lean muscle plus bone mineral content relative to his height is in the 88th percentile."

It's hard to believe that Steven is considered borderline obese by BMI standards, but now Steven has medical proof of just how physically fit he is.

The body composition analysis costs $115 for the first analysis and $95 for subsequent ones. Since it's not covered by insurance, anyone can get one.

Mercy Health Saint Mary's is one of the only health care providers offering this service to healthy fit individuals.

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