What Is BMI?
If you are concerned about your health and your weight, you have surely heard of or read about BMI. BMI is short for Body Mass Index, a calculation based on your height and weight used as an indicator of body “fatness” or obesity.
BMI is relatively easy to determine (especially when using our calculator), provides a standardized result and is simple to use and understand. The calculation works best for those over 18 years of age and is the same for both men and women. All you need is your height in feet and inches and your weight in pounds.
What Is BMI Used For?
Your calculated BMI is often used to screen for body mass/weight categories that may suggest health problems like obesity. Keep in mind that your BMI is not a measure of your body fatness (body fat percentage) or your health or fitness. Physicians often use BMI as an indicator of whether a patient is overweight, underweight, or at a healthy body weight. Both the Center For Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) use the results of the BMI index to determine risks for malnutrition or obesity.
Understanding Your BMI
Once you calculate your BMI determine which category you are in:
- Underweight: Your BMI is below 18.5 which may indicate malnourishment or a need to increase your calorie intake.
- Normal weight: Your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9 which is considered a healthy weight ratio.
- Overweight: Your BMI is between 25 and 29.9 which is considered overweight which may increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Obese: Your BMI is above 30 which suggests you may be at an increased risk for diseases and health conditions including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure (Hypertension), Type 2 diabetes and breathing problems.
How The BMI Calculator Works
If you are a math wiz with a calculator you can use this formula to calculate your BMI:
Convert your weight to pounds and your height in inches and use this formula: [weight / (height x height)] x 703. If you are NOT a math wiz or like simple, quick results, just use our calculator!
How Calculating Your BMI Can Help You Reach Your Health And Fitness Goals
Knowing your BMI and the corresponding category which you fall into such as underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese has clinical significance and is a useful measure of body weight and mass. The higher your number, the higher body fat and risks for chronic health problems including:
- Cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke.
- Hypertension (high blood pressure).
- Type 2 diabetes. **
- Arthritis and sleep apnea.
** Aside from genetics and family history, obesity (as indicated by your BMI) is the most influential factor in determining your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, regardless of your age.
Those who fall into the obese catagory are 80% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, especially those who accumulate their excess body fat around their waist.