All that you Need to Know About BMI

BMI or Body Mass Index is a measure that uses the weight and height of an individual to provide a simple means of estimating whether the person is overweight, obese, underweight, or of normal weight.

It is one method that can be used by anyone to check the level of fat one has in the body. For most individuals, it is a good indicator of whether they need to lose weight. This can be applied to anyone who is 20 years of age or older. For medical professionals, serves as the first measure to consider while estimating the overall health of an individual, among other things.

BMI Classification

The exact formula for BMI is the weight in kilograms divided by the height in meters squared. Based on such a calculation, the BMI has been divided into various categories.

  • A BMI that is lower than 18.5 is considered to be extremely low. People who have a BMI lower than 18.5 are classified as underweight. While these people are not fat, overweight, or obese, they do not have a normal, healthy weight either. Such people are at high risk of falling and getting fractured, developing digestive issues, etc.
  • When the BMI falls between 18.5 and 24.9, it is considered to be normal. At this stage, there is no health benefit to losing more weight. However, an effort should be made to remain in the normal range at all times. Continuing healthy eating and exercise habits and assessing the BMI every year is a good practice.
  • If the BMI falls between 25 and 29.9, the individual is classified as overweight. In such cases, weight loss is recommended, especially if there are two more cardiovascular disease risk factors. These include smoking, hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, and a sedentary lifestyle. A high fiber, low fat diet, along with regular physical activity can ensure that you reduce weight healthily over time.
  • A BMI above 30 should ring alarm bells. This is a sign of obesity and poses a major health risk for the individual with regards to stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure and even some cancers. Those with a BMI more than 30 should consult their physicians and immediately get started on a strict diet regime that can help reduce their weight by at least 10%. This would mean about 20 pounds for a 200 pound person. It is also necessary, however, that the weight loss measure is practiced in a healthy manner. A weight loss of about 4 pounds a month is considered normal and healthy.

Limitations of BMI

While BMI is a good measure of the overall health of an individual, it is not the only thing that healthcare professionals need to monitor in order to gauge disease risks.

There are other aspects like waist circumference, cholesterol levels, family history, and lifestyle factors that are to be considered.

In addition to that, it should be understood that the weight of muscle is more than that of fat. Therefore, this measure may not give a true picture of those who are muscular or have dense bones.