Staying healthy is probably at the top of most people’s list. Life is just a little easier when you’re feeling good. One indicator of where you are with your health is your body mass index or your BMI. Your BMI is a calculation that is based on your mass and height. It can tell you whether you are obese, overweight, healthy, or underweight. Your BMI isn’t a true indicator of the amount of body part on a person, but there are strong links to a healthy BMI and various metabolic and disease outcomes.
To calculate BMI, divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters, or you can divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches, square that answer, then multiply by 703. This calculation works for adults over the age of 20 and there are no variances related to male or female or body type.
- Under 18.5 means underweight.
- Between 18.5 and 24.9 means normal weight.
- Between 25.0 and 29.9 means overweight.
- Over 30.0 means obese
As far as BMI and children are concerned, it is interpreted according to their age and sex. Although the calculation is the same, there is a big difference in the way that boys’ and girls’ bodies handle fat. Obesity for children and teens between 2 and 19 years of age is defined as having a BMI that is at or above the 95th percentile when compared to children their age and sex according to CDC growth charts.
Common Health Concerns
It’s normal to be concerned with whether or not your BMI is at a healthy level. But if you are on the higher end of overweight or obese according to your BMI, you are at a higher risk for certain health problems. You can develop high blood pressure (hypertension), elevated LDL cholesterol levels, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, sleep apnea, body pains, and chronic inflammation. Each of these conditions and many others will increase the likelihood of falling victim to premature death. Even an obese person with seemingly no health conditions is more likely than someone with a healthy BMI to die prematurely.
Medical Care Provider
If you are concerned about your BMI you should consult with your medical care provider. They may put together a plan to help you achieve a more healthy weight and BMI. You may be referred to a dietician or nutritionist to help get you on the right track. Many times your BMI can be brought under control through diet and exercise, but if it is due to another medical condition, your provider can direct you to the right course of action. Also, if you’re an athlete, you may have a higher BMI due to your training. If this is the case, it is still a good idea to have regular checkups.
Whatever your health and body image goals are, your BMI can do a lot to tell you where you stand. Physical activity and adopting a healthy lifestyle are two ways you can go about achieving an improved BMI and maybe even an improved quality fo life.