Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a way for doctors and personal trainers alike to tell if you have too much fat on your body. This is a value that is derived from the height and mass/weight of the individual. The result of this test can give an “accurate” (or not-so-accurate) measurement of whether a person’s weight matches their height.
How is it calculated?
You take a person’s weight in pounds and multiply it by 703, and then you divide the sum by their height in inches, squared. To make life easier, you can always go online and search for a “BMI calculator”—it does the calculation for you, so you won’t have to do the math.
What do the results mean?
Another key part of calculating your BMI is understanding what the results really mean. If the results are below 18.5, that means the individual is underweight; if the results are between 18.4 and 24.9, the individual is considered a healthy weight; if the results are 25.0 to 29.9, this is considered overweight; and if the results are 30.0 and above, the individual is classified as obese.
How and why doctors use your BMI.
BMI is not accurate enough for doctors to use it as a means for diagnosis, but it can be used as a flag for underlying weight-related health issues. If an individual has a very high BMI, the doctor may then consider using other types of tests to determine how to move forward. The doctor can then make informed decisions on what changes the individual may need to make to their diet, exercise and general lifestyle to avoid further health complications.
Having extra weight on your body is never a good thing. Excess weight can lead to a number of health issues and lifestyle diseases. Here are a few negative impacts of extra weight:
Increased blood pressure and cholesterol
Higher risk of lifestyle diseases
Higher risk of diabetes
Coronary heart disease
Stroke and more.
Is BMI an accurate measurement of body fat?
According to Dr Hope Mecotti of the Harvard Medical School, “BMI (your weight in kilograms divided by the square of your height in meters) is a pretty reliable way to determine whether you have too much body fat. That said, BMI is not a perfect measure because it does not directly assess body fat. Muscle and bone are denser than fat, so BMI can overestimate body fat in athletes with high bone density and muscle mass, or underestimate it in older people who have low bone density and muscle mass.”
BMI can be a useful tool for identifying certain health risks but it should be used with caution as it does not take into consideration body composition.