BMI or Body Mass Index is a method to determine if you are maintaining a healthy weight for yourself. If you have been following health magazines, articles or have consulted a doctor you may have come across this term quite often.
BMI in recent times have been a cause of concern to many people, some trying to fanatically follow and maintain a healthy BMI.
In this article we would help you understand BMI aka Body Mass Index and how it can be helpful in maintaining a good health.
We will also cover scenarios where BMI may not be able to provide accurate information in terms of your health. So lets get going.
What is Body Mass Index (BMI)
As we mentioned earlier BMI is a method by which you can calculate whether you fall under healthy set of individuals or should you start planning some changes to make and keep yourself healthy.
BMI primarily uses two factors – your height and weight to work out a number which can then be used to find out if you fall under healthy weight, underweight or overweight category.
By classifying a person under these categories it gives a fair amount of idea to a person about their health status however the number should be treated as a guideline.
How to calculate BMI or Body Mass Index?
BMI can be calculated by dividing a person’s weight (measured in kilograms) divided by square of height in meters.
BMI = weight in kilograms / (height in meters)2
BMI should not be used as a measure of your health since it primarily works on your height and weight to generate a number for you.
This number can act as an indicator of whether you need to start taking better care of your health.
BMI cannot tell if you are carrying too much fat or if you have got lot of muscles and hence is not accurate in predicting your current health state.
You can use BMI as a reference point to discuss with your doctor if you need to action on it.
What is meant by being Underweight according to BMI
For an adult a healthy BMI usually varies from 18.5 – 25. If you are having less BMI then you fall under Underweight category.
What this means is that you are not eating enough as required by your body to function normally. This could also indicate that you are not well.
People with lower BMI may have lower appetite and should check with Doctor to discuss on how to move their BMI to a healthy level.
What is meant by being Obese according to BMI
If you are having a BMI greater than 30 which is much higher than a healthy BMI range (18.5 – 25) then you fall under Obese category.
What this means is that you should prioritise to reduce loose weight and bring yourself down to healthy weight category.
Read more – Why weight loss plans don’t work at all?
By being Obese you have a very high risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke etc.You should certainly consult your doctor who may advice you on diet and exercise to help you out.
In some cases doctors may suggest medicines if they feel that would be best for your condition.
What is a healthy weight according BMI
BMI shows you are in a healthy weight category if your BMI is within the range of 18 – 25. Though, a healthy BMI for you specifically may also depend on your ethnicity.
For example if you are from Black or Asian ethnicity then a BMI of 23 or higher may have a high risk of developing chronic conditions.
Is BMI correct indicator of my health?
Since the adult BMI does not take into account Age, Gender, or muscular build hence it should be used as a guideline to see if you need to take actions to keep yourself healthy.
BMI primarily takes height and weight to calculate the required number and puts you into one of these categories – Underweight, Overweight, Healthy weight or Obese categories however it cannot tell you if you are carrying too much fat.
What this means is that it cannot accurately confirm about your health. To help you understand better, consider following scenarios –
An athlete or athletic person with lots of muscle may have a high BMI but not overweight. This is because BMI cannot tell if the higher weight is due to FAT or muscles.
An aged person can have a healthy BMI but can have too much FAT which is not good for their health. As a person grow up they tend to have more FAT and hence BMI is not providing the right indication of a person’s health.
Women body easily accumulate FAT as compared to men and hence women can have a healthy BMI but still too much FAT. Again by just watching the BMI you may not be able to confirm a woman health.
People from certain ethnicity such as Black or Asian community have a high risk of having chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes with a BMI score higher than 23.
People from this ethnicity should therefore plan to keep a watch on their health.BMI can also be higher due to variation in bone density apart from higher FAT or muscle mass.
While Body Mass Index is a good starting point to analyse your health, it is not a good indicator of a person’s health.Understanding that a BMI in adults is a result of height and weight, it should only serve as a guideline to start your discussion with your doctor.
You may want to plan a change of diet or exercise after consulting your doctor who may help you plan better based on any underlying health condition that you may have.
We are sure this article may have helped you understand BMI and debunk any myths you may have come across in regards to the BMI.
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