If you’ve been to the doctor’s office for a check-up lately, chances are you’ve been weighed and measured, and had your BMI calculated. However, if you have a normal BMI, your doctor may not have felt the need to tell you your BMI, or even explain what it means. Read on to learn everything you need to know about your BMI.
What is it?
BMI stands for Body Mass Index, and it is a screening tool that is used to identify people who are underweight, overweight, or obese. Your BMI is calculated using a mathematical formula to divide your weight by your height in order to determine if you are at the correct weight. According to the WHO, an adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is overweight, an adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese, a BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight, and between 18.5 to 24.9 is a healthy weight.
|Body Mass Index (BMI)||Weight Status|
|18.5 – 24.9||Normal|
|25.0 – 29.9||Overweight|
Why is it useful?
For most individuals, BMI is a good indicator of total body fat. Therefore, it is also used as an indicator of health risk. As we know, being overweight or obese greatly increases your risk for high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and a host of other health problems. Scientific evidence shows that the risk of developing health problems rises progressively after your BMI surpasses the normal BMI range of 24.9. Therefore, calculating a patient’s BMI is an easy way for healthcare professionals to screen who might be predisposed to developing health problems. Your BMI is also helpful for you to know, because by maintaining a healthy weight range you can not only avoid dangerous medical problems, but also have fewer joint and muscle pains, more energy, and better sleep!
How Accurate is BMI?
Some researchers have argued that BMI should be discarded because it fails to provide detailed information on body composition such as muscle, bone, and other tissues. Therefore some believe that it is not an accurate measure of body fat. It may in fact, be true that for some people, BMI may not be accurate measure of their physical fitness. For example, athletes or people who are very muscular may fall into the “overweight” category when they are actually very fit. However, most people are not athletes, and for the majority of the population BMI can be used to provide a good measure of body fat and to predict disease risk.
By itself, BMI should not be relied on as the only measurement of good health. There are other factors that should be considered when determining a person’s health risks. Even so, BMI is still an excellent starting point to identify people who may be at risk for conditions that come with being overweight or obese. It’s a good idea to know your BMI and try to stay within your healthy weight range. However, be sure to consult your primary physician before starting any weight loss diet or exercise routine.
Find out what your BMI is by clicking here.