Have you heard of the term BMI?
BMI, short for Body Mass Index, is a number that indicates the relative amount of fat in your body in relation to your height. Most people and organizations use it to determine if you’re at the correct weight.
It’s important because it may identify health risks associated with obesity or thinness.
BMI is not perfect because it does not consider muscle mass, bone structure, and other factors, but it’s a good starting point.
You can calculate your BMI by dividing your kilogram weight by your height in meters squared. You can also use an online calculator or app.
Read on as we discuss the Body Mass Index, how you calculate it, and why you should care about it.
What is the importance of BMI?
Well, as mentioned above, most people today use the BMI to check whether or not they are at a healthy weight. Your BMI is a calculation of your body weight with your height. The number that you get is a good indicator if you are at risk for developing health problems, whether it comes to obesity or being too thin.
If your BMI is too high or too low, you may be at risk for developing health problems. For this reason, it’s essential to know your BMI and to make sure that it falls within a healthy range.
How does one calculate their BMI?
When you encounter having to compute your BMI for the first time, it may seem daunting. But don’t worry, there’s actually a formula for it. The formula is either for kilograms or for pounds.
Compute for BMI using Kilograms (kg) / in the metric system
If you’re computing your BMI using your weight in kilograms, here’s the formula according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
- Weight (in kg) / [height (m)]2
Now to actually do that in your calculator or by hand, use this calculation:
- [weight (kg) / height (cm) / height (cm)] x 10,000
So for example, your child’s weight is 16.9 kg and height is 105.4 cm. What is your child’s BMI?
Here’s the actual computation: (16.9 kg / 105.4 cm / 105.4 cm ) x 10,000
The answer is 15.2.
Compute for BMI using Pounds (lbs) / the English system
If you’re computing using pounds, here’s the formula, also by the CDC:
- Weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703
To calculate it, do this:
- [weight (lb) / height (in) / height (in)] x 703
So for example, your weight is 150 pounds and your height is 66 inches. The calculation will look like this:
(150 / 66 / 66) x 703
Your BMI is 24.2.
If you just want to find your BMI without resorting to plenty of math, the Internet has you covered. Just Google “BMI calculators” and you’ll find plenty to use out there. They’re free, too!
What is a healthy BMI range?
According to the World Health Organization, adults’ healthy BMI range is 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2.
Therefore, a BMI of 18.50 would be considered the lower healthy weight limit. A BMI of 24.90 would be the upper limit.
However, it’s essential to remember that these numbers are just guidelines. Everyone is different, and what may be a healthy weight for one person may not be healthy for another.
For example, a bodybuilder may have a high BMI because they look “big,” but they are not necessarily in danger of any health risks.
The critical thing to remember is that you should aim for a weight that makes you feel healthy and confident!
How can a person maintain a normal body mass index?
Maintaining a healthy body mass index can be difficult for some people, but it’s not impossible. Here are a few tips to help you stay within a healthy range:
– Make sure you’re eating a balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
– Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks.
– Exercise regularly.
– Get enough sleep each night.
– Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone is different and has their own ideal weight.
– Try not to get too stressed. Stress can lead to unhealthy habits, such as overeating and skipping workouts.
Is using BMI as a measure of health reliable?
Using BMI alone to say if someone is overweight is not a good idea.
While it is tempting to use as a standard for good health, it’s not the most reliable tool. According to Harvard Research, BMI lacks any assessment of how much fat a person has or how the fat is distributed in the body. Both of these are important indicators of a person’s metabolic health.
BMI is also not as accurate during pregnancy as it is for non-pregnant women. For athletes, it tends to underrate how much they should eat. It also gets less accurate the older you get.
BMI may be more useful for predicting the future than a person’s current health. Remember, being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. And it’s common knowledge that maintaining a healthy weight reduces your risk of developing that disease.
Here’s another problem with relying on BMI only. Obesity has traditionally been defined in terms of BMI which takes into account height and weight. However, the current definition was based on data from people of white race/ethnicity. And as we should all know by now, most of the world’s population today is not of the white race or ethnicity.
Plus, body composition varies by race and ethnic group. This means you may have a higher percentage of body fat if you are white, black, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American than someone of the same gender and same age who is of another ethnicity or racial group.
A better way to define obesity is if your waist measurement is larger than your hip measurement. If your waist size is 40 inches or more, then you are clinically obese.
Final thoughts about BMI
The BMI is important to know because it can help identify health risks associated with obesity and thinness. But do keep in mind that BMI is just a guideline and that what may be a healthy weight for one person may not be healthy for another.
There are many ways to maintain a healthy body mass index, including eating a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables, avoiding processed foods and sugary drinks, getting enough sleep every night, and exercising regularly.
Remember to not stress about BMI too much and that you should aim for a weight that makes you feel happy and confident.
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