What is Body Mass Index (BMI)?
BMI is a screening tool that measures the body fat percentage based on height and weight. It is a measure of body size. The BMI value gives an idea about whether a person has the correct weight as per their height.
It is an inexpensive and easily accessible way to assess and identify the potential weight-related problems for adults.
How to use the BMI calculator?
There is no standard weight that should fit every individual. The calculated value of BMI gives an idea of what weight an individual should have as per his/her height.
The BMI calculator takes into account your weight (in kgs) and height (in meters) as per the standard BMI formula.
Though the gender is not taken into account in the formula, the fat content, as well as its distribution, is of importance, as differs among man and woman.
Similarly, other factors like age, body type and body muscle content, have an impact over more precise information regarding BMI value.
Standard formula to measure BMI
Body Mass Index is the ratio of an individual’s weight in kilograms to the square of height in meters. Research has suggested that BMI value is directly related to body fat content and consequently, to various metabolic and disease outcomes.
BMI= weight (kg) / [height (m)]2
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BMI Interpretation for Adults
The BMI categories take into account various body shapes, giving a healthy weight range for a particular height. Also, these categories are the same for man and woman of all body types and ages.
BMI valueCategoriesLess than 18.5Underweight18.5-24.9Healthy weight25-29.9Overweight30 and aboveObese
Interpretation of BMI values
BMI ValueThe low BMI value of 18.5 and less depicts the condition of underweight which means that the affected individual needs to gain weight. The BMI value between 18.5-24.9 indicates the healthy range which an individual needs to maintain with a healthy lifestyle, balanced diet and exercise routine. The high BMI value between 25-29.9 means that the individual is overweight and needs to lose weight.The BMI value of 30 and above is hazardous and requires immediate action towards weight reduction for health reasons.
Health consequences of high BMI in adults
Researches have established that people with high BMI are at increased risk for many diseases and health conditions including
Increased mortality rateDiabetesHypertensionCardiovascular diseasesOsteoporosisStrokeGallbladder diseasesChronic inflammationCancer
As BMI goes up, the risks of metabolic diseases also increase.
Health consequences of low BMI
Though the major limelight is stolen away by the high BMI, the condition of low BMI is also life-threatening which should be addressed timely. The risks associated with being underweight are:
MalnutritionA decrease in immunityRestricted growth and developmentReproductive issues and increased risk of miscarriageHigher mortality as compared to normal BMILow BMI
Limitations of BMI
BMI is the most commonly used tool for measuring body weight, it has certain limitations.
It does not differentiate between muscle mass and fat mass.Consider body weight and not body fat percentage.Do not take into account age and gender.It is not able to reflect the right health status at some life stages like pregnancy, breastfeeding and childhood.
BMI is an inexpensive, easily affordable and understandable tool that can give you a fair idea about your health status and even, disease prediction for the future.
If the BMI value came out to be below or above the normal range, one should take appropriate, timely measures. Similarly, maintaining the normal BMI range is equally important too. This will ensure a healthy and disease-free life always.