Are you at a healthy weight for your height? What does your Body Mass Index have to do with your health?
A healthy weight goes beyond the number on the scale: There’s also your body mass index (BMI), which is a measurement that determines if you’re at an appropriate weight for your height by estimating your body fat. To calculate your BMI, your height and weight are entered into a mathematical equation and the resulting number reveals whether you’re underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese.
BMI = [weight / (height x height)] x 703
(Ex.: 150 lbs divided by (68” x 68” = 4624) x 703 = 22.80 or SEE BMI Chart.
There are four classifications of ADULT BMI. 18.5 is considered underweight; 18.5 to 24.9 is normal; and 25.0 to 29.9 is overweight. Any number above 29.9 is classified as obese. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk for certain diseases such as:
Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, Gallstones, Breathing problems, and certain Cancers.
Talk with your physician or Fitness Professional about losing weight. On the other hand, if you’re underweight, consult with your physician or Fitness Professional to determine if and how you should gain weight. For women, being underweight can interrupt the menstrual cycle and cause bone loss.
Though BMI is generally a reliable approximation of body fat, it doesn’t always tell the whole picture. BMI doesn’t differentiate between body fat and lean muscle mass. BMI might be a poor indicator of body fat in athletes, people who have a muscular build and those who are heavily engaged in strength training because their dense muscle mass may classify them as overweight when they aren’t. On the flip side, it might underestimate body fat in older individuals and people who have lost muscle mass.
Even with its drawbacks, however, BMI can give you a rough idea of how healthy you are. You can use BMI to help you evaluate whether you need to make LIFESTYLE changes.
LIFESTYLE changes that include healthier diets, regular physical activity, and weight loss of 7%-10% have shown phenomenal health benefits that can be more effective than medications. Lowering body weight can reverse or prevent diabetes; lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels; and improve sleep apnea and other sleep problems — along with helping you feel better about yourself. (David Katz, MD, MPH, Director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center and of the Yale Preventive Medicine Center)
Such a small loss may not seem like much if you’re trying to look svelte in your jeans. But in terms of your health, it can be a big victory.