Body mass index, or BMI, is a useful tool in guiding health care providers and patients towards a healthy body weight. Typically, a larger BMI is correlated with a higher risk of disease and possibly death, and there are ranges that are recommended for a given height.
Your BMI is calculated by taking your weight in kilograms and dividing it by the square of your height in meters. To convert your weight from pounds into kilograms, you can divide the number of pounds by 2.2. To convert your height from inches to meters, multiply the inches by 0.025.
BMI is a useful tool that can help you and your doctor decide on the right diet, exercise, or weight loss procedure recommendations for you.
Underweight and Normal BMIs
People with a BMI of less than 18.5 are considered underweight. Being underweight can result in an increased risk of osteoporosis, nutritional deficiencies, and hormone imbalances. A normal BMI is 18.5-24.9 and is associated with the lowest risk of health diseases. People at their ideal body weight also tend to have a good self-image and better energy levels.
An overweight BMI is one that is 25 to 29.9. This category can be seen as a warning sign that you need to pay attention to your health. A BMI in this range has you on the road to the health problems that are correlated with a higher BMI. This is a great time to make some diet and lifestyle changes.
People with a BMI greater than 30 are classified as obese. This group can be further broken down into Class 1 with a BMI range of 30 to 34.9, Class 2 with a BMI range of 35 to 39.9, and Class 3 with a BMI of 40 and greater. People in this group have a higher risk of developing many serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, gallstones, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and arthritis. It also puts them at risk for potentially life threatening diseases like coronary artery disease, stroke, and some forms of cancer.
While BMI is a useful measurement, it may not always tell the full story. Individuals that are muscular may have a BMI that is disproportionate to their true health level. Other things that may affect BMI include age, race, and gender. Please discuss BMI concerns with your health care provider to create a personalized health plan and recommendations for you.