BMI and scuba diving

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Barefoot_Lawyer

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Contrast the UKDMC guidance with this:

BMI is not a measure of body composition; it is simply a height-weight ratio. It can be informative, but it can also be misleading. BMI values will be higher for individuals with larger frames and greater muscularity, or lower for those with less muscle and more fat mass. Healthy body composition and general cardiac fitness are important, but these cannot be confirmed with BMI data.
 
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DrG123

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Yes I think with something like this, if I lie then something goes wrong it's not just myself in danger. I definitely accept that my weight is an issue I need to work on, and if it precludes me from diving then it's just something I need to sort out before I can take it up.

For context this is a link to the undersea and hyperbaric medical society that the PADI form links to for professional guidance:

"METABOLIC AND ENDOCRINOLOGICAL
States of altered hormonal or metabolic function should be assessed according to their impact on the individual’s
ability to tolerate the moderate exercise requirement and environmental stress of sport diving. Obesity may
predispose the individual to decompression sickness, can impair exercise tolerance and is a risk factor for coronary
artery disease.
Severe Risk Conditions
• The potentially rapid change in level of consciousness associated with hypoglycemia in diabetics on insulin
therapy or certain oral hypoglycemic medications can result in drowning. Diving is therefore generally
contraindicated, except when conducted according to the consensus guidelines for recreational diving with
diabetes.
• Pregnancy

Relative Risk Conditions
• Hormonal excess or deficiency
• Obesity
• Renal insufficiency "

I'd just got my hopes up that as that guidance said it was a relative risk I would hopefully be okay as I'm otherwise fit. I just hadn't seen the UKDMC guidance so I (wrongly) assumed that the above were the standard ones followed.

Can't be helped, and it's better to delay learning for 6 months and not drown - just a disappointment when I thought that it wouldn't be such an issue!
 

NW Dive Dawg

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I think that the fact that you are active, walk a lot and can swim laps for an hour or more speaks volumes and is far more compelling than any BMI index.... Combine that with your genuine concerns and positive attitude and you are the kind of student I would have loved to teach back in my teaching days.

I never really even thought about BMI till just now going to an online BMI calculator, plugging in my stats (6' 1" & 250lbs) to find that I am obese with a BMI of 33.... The site also says that I should weigh 160 lbs for optimum health... Really!! My college football playing weight was 220lbs as a tight end but that was almost 50 years ago. In my late 60's now and realistically could stand to lose 20 or 30lbs. But I'm active, work hard to keep up my 5 acres, walk the golf course a couple times a week, etc, etc...

I think some people are just more dense than others.....at least that's how my wife sees it!!!
 

Seaweed Doc

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I'm not sure this is helpful, but I'll offer my limited experience with larger women in classes I teach.

And the answer is: It depends.
I currently have a student who reported height and weight to me so the shop could estimate sizing for a wetsuit and BCD during open water dives. And I was shocked. I never would have guessed she weighed as much as she stated, but there it was. She had no trouble in the water and will be an excellent diver. Her BMI was lower than yours, but I never would have guessed she'd be overweight based on BMI. Not thin, but not obviously overweight.

In the past I've had students who had a lot of issues. One student could barely maneuver her arms around once she had a wetsuit on. But she was big enough she could barely maneuver her arms WITHOUT a wetsuit on. If the regulator came out of her mouth, the odds of recovering it were quite low. Others were winded by the time they got their equipment on. I don't think these apply to you, though I could be wrong.

A couple questions to consider:

With one hand on a wall or piece of stable furniture, can you move the foot on that side so it rests on your other knee? That is, with your left hand on a wall or sofa could you put your left foot on your right knee? And the reverse, right hand on wall and right foot on left knee? If not, you'll have some trouble getting your fins on. There are alternate techniques, but this is a bit of a warning flag that you'd need accommodations not usually required because your mobility is limited.

Can you walk up a flight of stairs carrying something heavy and not be winded at the top? This is less of an issue once you're in the water, but it can be tougher if you're doing beach-based dives. I've had some students wanting to learn dry suit use who had a lot of experience in tropical diving from a boat and had no idea they physically just couldn't handle carrying all the gear up (or even down) the beach.

I'm not a medical doc: Take this with a grain of salt. Perhaps file it as "will I enjoy SCUBA training" rather than "am I in good health for SCUBA training."
 

MiloR

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BMI is rubbish.
Everyone should locate and have a DEXA scan done. I currently have 7.8lbs of bones and 168.7 lean lbs. At 210 lbs I would be considered obese by BMI but Athletic based on the 16% body fat percentage. 5'10" fwiw.
My MD, the dietician, and the trainer are all targeting me for 240# goal weight, assuming I will keep the muscle mass or increase it a little. That is about 23% bf which falls in the healthy range for my age. Health and fitness are not obvious to the naked eye. Hell, I have a close female friend that is 6'2" and 270lbs. She can complete a Marathon and has a resting heart rate of 58 bpm, stellar BP, stellar Chol numbers. She did shot put and hammer throw in College so she is the literal "Brick house". She also is an certified cave diver and regularly free dives. To so many on this board she is literally death walking if they just looked at her but they would be oh so wrong.

Go see your regular Dr and enjoy yourself. If you want to work on the weight then see a professional and good luck.
 

Blackcrusader

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I think that the fact that you are active, walk a lot and can swim laps for an hour or more speaks volumes and is far more compelling than any BMI index.... Combine that with your genuine concerns and positive attitude and you are the kind of student I would have loved to teach back in my teaching days.

I never really even thought about BMI till just now going to an online BMI calculator, plugging in my stats (6' 1" & 250lbs) to find that I am obese with a BMI of 33.... The site also says that I should weigh 160 lbs for optimum health... Really!! My college football playing weight was 220lbs as a tight end but that was almost 50 years ago. In my late 60's now and realistically could stand to lose 20 or 30lbs. But I'm active, work hard to keep up my 5 acres, walk the golf course a couple times a week, etc, etc...

I think some people are just more dense than others.....at least that's how my wife sees it!!!

In my own personal opinion I think BMI is nonsense. I just did a PFO test where one part of the test was stress testing. I am 185cm tall and weigh 130kg. I'm a large person of soon to be 62 years of age. Yet I take daily walks up and down steep mountain trails. My knees suffer and I may need to rest at times from the pain. My back isn't the best either. Yet I took a medical for my upcoming TDI ANDP course I will do this year. My instructor has known me for over 8 years and we have done a lot of diving together so my size is not new to him. I am medically cleared for my next diving course.

I have no issues with my health and my heart is fine. My resting heart beat is from 55 - 58 per minute and my blood pressure last tested at resting was 118/60. No diabetes, heart or lung problems, no coronary artery disease. I'm fine for taking my diving course. I do take meds for high blood pressure. My BMI was not tested.


 

Esprise Me

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This might be worth moving over to the Dive-Medicine category for better visibility to more-expert eyes
I'll try and work out how to get it moved to the medical board!



A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

Moved to the Dive Medicine subforum, as OP seemed to want. FYI for future reference, if you want to move a thread, you can use the report function at the bottom of the post and it'll notify the mods. I just happened to see this as I was passing through.
 

kaylee_ann

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That's so stupid, as I'm sure you're in better shape than I am. 5'4/164 cm and 145 lbs/66 kg. Smaller, but not in as good of shape. Size shouldn't matter more than physical condition/endurance IMO. Also, muscle weighs more than fat, so sometimes stronger people have a high BMI but aren't obese by any means. It's not a good indicator of obesity/physical condition/endurance.
See a different doctor or your regular GP.
 
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DrG123

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Thank you everyone for all of your responses.
I've spoken to my own GP today who said that she can't sign the form as she doesn't know anything about dive medicine.
Unfortunately I can't see that I'm going to be able to find anyone to sign me off - while I can technically afford another medical I don't want to spent another £85 just to be told that my BMI is too high again. If anyone has any recommendations in the east of England area that would be great! Could stretch to London if need be.

Thanks again!
 
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